Federal child nutrition programs advanced one step closer to receiving new life Thursday as the House Education and Labor Committee passed reauthorization legislation that would also increase spending on food programs for infants and youth by $8 billion over a decade. Current child nutrition programs authorization expires on Sept. 30. The reauthorization bill was authored by Senate Ag Committee Chairman Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
Following passage Lincoln said Congress is one step closer to delivering a bill to the President's desk. She added that time is of the essence. She says Congress must not squander this opportunity to make historic improvements to our child nutrition programs that will put us on a path toward ending childhood hunger and reversing the trend of childhood obesity.
How to pay for the increase remains a problem for House Republicans.
In response to the passage First Lady Michelle Obama said the legislation will combat hunger and provide millions of school children with access to healthier meals, a critical step in the battle against childhood obesity. Mrs. Obama urged both the House and Senate to pass the bill without delay. She said the President looks forward to signing a final bill this year.
Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says House committee passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is a positive step forward. Vilsack says the legislation complements the Senate's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act recently reported out of Committee and both bills advance the Administration's priorities. The Secretary urged Congress to continue making enactment of Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation a priority this year by finishing the process by the time kids head back to school this fall.