Lame-duck Congress Passes Child Nutrition Bill

A child nutrition bill cleared its final hurdle within the House and now goes to the president for a signature. The $4.5 billion child nutrition bill will feed more poor children with free school lunches and dinners, enhance the nutritional quality of school cafeteria meals and get junk food out of school vending machines. Republicans called the child nutrition bill more large government spending, however Democrats diverted funding from food stamp programs to offset the cost.

Child nutrition bill contains what?

The house passed the child nutrition bill with a 264-157 vote. It had been approved in the Senate last summer by unanimous consent. $4.5 billion could be added to the government spending on child nutrition over the next decade. For the very very first time since 1973, federal reimbursements to families for school lunches will boost more than inflation. Even vending machines can now be regulated by the secretary of agriculture, not just the lunches served at school. Children will start seeing more fruits and vegetables, more grains, and less fat under the newest guidelines.

Child nutrition bill supported by who?

National Academy of Sciences and input from children’s advocates also as the food industries were all an integral part of creating this bill. United in support of the bill were health care, educational and religious groups, along with labor unions and the food, beverage, dairy and supermarket industries. The nation’s health has been shown in many studies to be substantially impacted by school lunch programs. The bill’s supporters said it could enhance learning, reduce health care costs and help reduce both childhood hunger and obesity.

Political debate about child nutrition

Republicans tried their hardest to get this bill sent back to the Senate, instead of the president. Republicans take over the house in Jan., and if they could have just gotten it delayed that long they would have killed the whole bill then. Telling people how and what to eat, also as a boost in government spending, were the two arguments the Republicans tried to use to stop the bill. To offset the $4.5 billion cost of the bill, Democrats diverted $2.2 billion from food stamp programs for low-income families. 15 republicans did agree on the bill anyway.

Information from

New York Times

nytimes.com/2010/12/03/us/politics/03child.html?_r=1

Washington Post

washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/12/02/AR2010120202737.html?hpid=topnews

NPR

npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=131206956

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