Congress sends child nutrition bill to Obama
Thursday, December 02, 2021 8:13 PM

Related Stories



(Source: Associated Press/AP Online)By MARY CLARE JALONICK

WASHINGTON - More children would eat lunches and dinners at school under legislation passed Thursday by the House and sent to the president, part of first lady Michelle Obama's campaign to end childhood hunger and fight childhood obesity.

The $4.5 billion bill approved by the House 264-157 would also try to cut down on greasy foods and extra calories by giving the government power to decide what kinds of foods may be sold in vending machines and lunch lines. The bill could even limit frequent school bake sales and fundraisers that give kids extra chances to eat brownies and pizza.

The first lady said in a statement after the vote that she was "thrilled" about House passage. She called the bill "a groundbreaking piece of bipartisan legislation that will significantly improve the quality of meals that children receive at school."

Republicans said the bill is too expensive and an example of government overreach. Even former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has weighed in, bringing cookies to a speech at a Pennsylvania school last month and calling efforts to limit junk food in schools a "nanny state run amok."

Democrats said the legislation is needed to stem rising health care costs due to expanding American waistlines and to feed hungry children in tough economic times.

The new nutrition standards would be written by the Agriculture Department, which would decide which kinds of foods may be sold and what ingredients can be used on school lunch lines and in vending machines.

The new standards would likely keep popular foods like hamburgers and pizza in school cafeterias but make them healthier, using leaner meat or whole wheat crust, for example. Vending machines could be stocked with less candy and fewer high-calorie drinks.

Bake sales and other school sponsored fundraisers that sell unhealthy foods could be limited under the legislation, which only allows them if they are infrequent. The Agriculture Department would determine how often they could be held. Public health advocates pushed for the language, saying they are concerned about daily or weekly fundraisers that allow children to subtitute junk food for a healthier meal.

The bill would increase eligibility and accessibility for school lunches by using Medicaid and census data and provide money to serve more than 20 million additional after-school meals annually in all 50 states. Most states now only serve after-school snacks.

The legislation would increase the amount of money schools are reimbursed for free lunches by 6 cents a meal, a priority for schools that say they don't have enough money to serve the meals.

Some public school organizations have criticized the bill, saying they are concerned it will set new requirements without providing enough money to carry them out.

"This will just add a new burden for schools to pay for another unfunded mandate at a time when there are critical budget shortfalls," said Anne L. Bryant, executive director of the National School Boards Association.

The Senate passed the legislation in August. Republicans attempted to send the bill back to the Senate on Wednesday - instead of straight to President Barack Obama - by using a procedural maneuver to try and amend it with language that would require background checks for child care workers.

Democrats said the amendment was an attempt to kill the bill in the last few weeks of the congressional session because there would be no time for the Senate to pass it again and send it back to the House. They avoided the Senate detour and gave members of their party political cover by passing the background checks in a separate bill Thursday.

The child nutrition bill stalled in September when some liberal Democrats opposed it because it is partially paid for with $2.2 billion in future dollars for food stamps. But those Democrats dropped their opposition after Republicans made large gains in the November elections and the White House promised to find a way to restore the money.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the measure gives USDA the chance to make significant changes to school lunch programs for the first time in more than 30 years.

"Our national security, economic competitiveness and health and wellness of our children will improve as a result of the action Congress took today," Vilsack said.

A service of YellowBrix, Inc.

 

Sponsors

Symbol :

Advertisement

Market news:

  • South Korea again vows retaliation against NKorea Dec 04, 2021 04:01 AM

    • SEOUL, South Korea - South Korea's new defense minister took office Saturday and vowed a strong military response that would force rival North Korea to surrender if it attacks the South again.
    • Kim Kwan-jin's predecessor resigned amid criticism that the government responded weakly to a Nov. 23 North Korean artillery barrage on a South Korean island near their disputed western sea border that killed two South Korean marines and two civilians.
    • During a confirmation hearing Friday, Kim warned that South Korea would launch air strikes on the communist North if it stages another attack.
      • Senate to vote on Democratic tax cut plans Dec 04, 2021 03:38 AM

        • WASHINGTON - Democrats are already eyeing the 2012 elections and are eager to engineer a showdown over tax cuts in an attempt to depict Republicans as guardians of the rich.
        • One is on a proposal to extend all expiring tax cuts on individuals making less than $200,000 a year and couples making less than $250,000.
        • The other would renew the tax breaks for all tax filers with incomes of less than $1 million.
          • Successful and reviled Massey CEO retires in weeks Dec 04, 2021 03:30 AM

            • MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Massey Energy Co. Chief Executive Don Blankenship, the modern-day coal baron who made millions for investors while turning countless neighbors into bitter enemies over environmental destruction, will wrap up his reign as the king of Central Appalachia's coalfields at year's end.
            • A 60-year-old millionaire who rose from obscure beginnings, Blankenship oversaw an ongoing plan to expand the production of Appalachian coal for growing Asian markets, but leaves behind a company badly shaken by the April 5 blast that killed 29 men at the Upper Big Branch mine.
            • "After almost three decades at Massey it is time for me to move on," Blankenship said in a prepared statement.
              • Average joes welcomed alongside celebs at Elaine's Dec 04, 2021 03:30 AM

                • NEW YORK - Celebrities and bold names and the publishing elite made Elaine Kaufman's restaurant famous.
                • So up-and-comers and celebrities alike who had called her a friend gathered Friday night at Elaine's to reminisce about the brash-voiced woman who had alternately played matchmaker and scold, hostess and grandma for them over the years.
                • "All the people who are now my friends and chosen family - we met because Elaine said we should meet," said Arthur Bochner, who at 28 counts as "one of the biggest honors of my life" the first time Kaufman invited him to sit with her at one of her tables.
                  • Lakers blow out Kings, easily snap 4-game skid Dec 04, 2021 03:24 AM

                    • LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant scored 22 points, Pau Gasol added 16 despite a strained left hamstring, and the Los Angeles Lakers easily snapped a four-game losing streak with a 113-80 victory over the struggling Sacramento Kings on Friday night.
                    • "We came out focused and we played aggressive from the first minute," Gasol said.
                    • Los Angeles jumped to an 18-point lead on lowly Sacramento in the first half and stretched it to 32 before Bryant and Gasol wrapped up their evenings late in the third quarter.

                      More news


Advertisement

    Recent Estimates

AnalystFirm NameSymbolEPS Estimate
GEOXXXXX PAY$0.30
mrbilltraderXXXXX POT$1.15
XXXXXXXXXX OVTI$0.43
sam farahanXXXXX TECD$0.95
XXXXXXXXXX GSS$0.05
XXXXXXXXXX ABB$0.31
adfgafg ERTS($0.26)
XXXXXXXXXX SD$0.03
XXXXXXXXXX ATML$0.11
XXXXXXXXXX CBPO$0.32