Republican Indiana Rep. Jim Banks sent a letter Wednesday to Department of Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack demanding answers over a department rule change Banks said would block religious schools from participating in the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service programs.
The rule change falls under the department’s Title IX sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) provision. The Daily Caller first obtained a copy of the letter, in which Banks mentions the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) blocking preschoolers enrolled at the Church of Compassion Dayspring Learning Center from qualifying for free lunches provided by the USDA’s Child and Adult Food Care Program in December 2022, because the preschool objected to the USDA’s SOGI rule.
“About 40 percent of the children at Dayspring are low-income and, before they were denied access to federal nutritional assistance, qualified for USDA’s Child and Adult Food Care Program,” Banks wrote in the letter. “For nearly twenty years, Dayspring had used the program to provide students in need with regular meals. As recently as 2022, that aid amounted to between $3,500 and $4,000 a month – until, as a result of your federal rule, it was cut off.” (RELATED: Education Secretary Miguel Cardona Insinuates Jim Banks Wants To Exclude Kids By Discussing Biological Realities)
Here Is What Banks Asks In The Letter:
- “Yes or no: would your Department’s Title IX SOGI rule change block religious schools, including Christian, Jewish, or Muslim institutions, from participating in USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service programs, as well as other related programs?
- Title IX exempts religious schools from rules that would constitute a violation of their faith. Why is this administration, as well as state-level agencies tasked with administering federal programs, not honoring these exemptions?
- Yes or no: would your Department’s Title IX SOGI rule change prevent Indiana public schools with female-only sports teams and locker rooms from participating in your department’s nutritional assistance programs?
- Nearly 30 million schoolchildren across the country rely on FNS programs for breakfast and lunch costs. Is it truly this administration’s position that those children do not deserve nutrition because their school disagrees with the Biden administration’s redefinition of the word ‘sex’?”
READ THE LETTER HERE:
“House Republicans must use the farm bill to undo the Biden administration’s downright evil decision to take away free school lunches from needy children at observant Christian schools,” Banks told the Caller before sending the letter. “I thought I’d seen it all from this administration, but this is a new low.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Here Is Who Will Serve On The Anti-Woke Caucus In Congress)
The Alliance Defending Freedom announced in June it was suing the Biden administration and California state officials regarding their alleged treatment of the Dayspring Learning Center.
The Caller contacted the USDA about Banks’ letter to which the department did not immediately respond.