Republicans block child nutrition bill

WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republicans have temporarily blocked legislation to feed school meals to thousands more hungry children.

Republicans used a procedural maneuver Wednesday to try to amend the $4.5 billion bill, which would give more needy children the opportunity to eat free lunches at school and make those lunches healthier. First lady Michelle Obama has lobbied for the bill as part of her “Let’s Move” campaign to combat childhood obesity.

House Democrats said the GOP amendment, which would have required background checks for child care workers, was an effort to kill the bill and delayed a final vote on the legislation rather than vote on the amendment.

Because the nutrition bill is identical to legislation passed by the Senate in August, passage would send it to the White House for President Barack Obama’s signature. If the bill were amended, it would be sent back to the Senate with little time left in the legislative session.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md. said the House would hold separate votes on Thursday on the amendment and the bill.

Republicans say the nutrition bill is too costly and an example of government overreach.

“It’s not about making our children healthy and active,” said Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee. “We all want to see our children healthy and active. This is about spending and the role of government and the size of government — a debate about whether we’re listening to our constituents or not.”

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin has also taken a swipe at the first lady’s campaign, bringing cookies to a speech at a Pennsylvania school last month and calling the campaign a “school cookie ban debate” and “nanny state run amok” on her Twitter feed.

The legislation would give the government the power to decide what kinds of foods could be sold and what ingredients may be limited in school lunch lines and vending machines.

The Agriculture Department would create the standards, which 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.

The bill would provide money to serve more than 20 million additional after-school meals annually to children in all 50 states. Many of those children now only receive after-school snacks. It would also increase the number of children eligible for school meals programs by at least 115,000, using Medicaid and census data to identify them.

The legislation would increase the amount of money schools are reimbursed by 6 cents a meal, a priority for schools that say they don’t have the dollars to feed needy kids.

(This version CORRECTS that Palin is a former, not current, Alaska governor.)

  • cat58

    Oh and how could I forget emergency room visits.

  • cat58

    We pay for their welfare, food stamps, SSI supplements, free breakfast, free lunch, free after school snack, free electricity, phone, cell phone, free education, public housing and baby daddy’s jail costs, rehab and we pay dearly for michelle’s upkeep. Tell michelle no more travel and clothes and Air Force 2 and we still won’t pay for her stupid project to lure illegals and do nothings to the polls.

  • Tess_Comments

    The president met with liberal Democrats Tuesday in a last minute push to unite his party in support of a $4.5 billion child nutrition bill that would improve lunches in schools and expand feeding programs for low-income students.

    $4.5 billion more dollars for low-income students. Yep, once again we see how Obama cares about the MIDDLE CLASS.

    Resolve the extension of the tax cuts for all.
    Pass a temporary spending bill to avoid a government shutdown.

  • logic

    This is why government is so maddening. We subsidize corn and soybean production such that the oversupply is fed to the animals (contrary to their natural diets) that we all eat and then put into about every mainstream processed food product you can think of. This all helps to make us fat. Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution or a documentary like Food, Inc. have shown how destructive these policies are for our health. School lunch programs included. Oliver couldn’t even get through the gov’t bureaucracy to get sugar-laden chocolate and strawberry milk off the menu.

    Then there is the FDA, which has approved thousands of food additives and preservatives from known carcinogens like TBHQ to aspartame, questioned for manipulating the body’s craving for sugar and carbohydrates.

    Yet, here we have Nancy Pelosi and Michelle Obama claiming to have the fix. Not a word about the root causes have been uttered. Michelle has her organic garden and millions of Americans are eating government Frankenfood.

  • OldMexican

    “Creation of new standards, which public health advocates have sought for years, has unprecedented support from many of the nation’s largest food and beverage companies.”

    Ha ha ha!! ‘Unprecedented’??? Who do you think PUSHES for these things, or do you guys think politicians or the Foist Loidee are that clever? Whenever there’s government [i.e. OUR] money at the trough, there will be PLENTY piggies out there to feast upon it.

    “Competition? Chumpetition! I only lobby for my goodies!”

  • oc in nc

    They want to cut out the junk-food intake let’s start with the food stamp program,only meat,vegetables,dairy and fruit allowed.NO JUNK-FOOD.I am tired of standing in line at the store watching MY tax money pay for their crap.

  • John Schwab

    The same people that elected her National Lunch Room Monitor.

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  • snappercat

    Just wondering who elected Michelle, the fashion police?

    • missywise

      The fashion police should be arresting Michelle Marie Antoinette. I say let it fail especially if MMA is making Obummer’s life a living hell for not getting it passed – heh, heh, heh.