Friday, July 2, 2010

Congress' Excrutiating School Lunch Reauthorization Process

By Ed Bruske
aka The Slow Cook

Our federal government has unlimited billions of dollars to wage wars in foreign countries, but when it comes to feeding our kids decent food members of Congress suddenly become all about saving money. Every five years we get to watch this spectacle play out again when law makers take up re-authorization of the Child Nutrition Act, which funds school meals, among other things.

This year President Barack Obama has requested an increase in spending of $10 billion over 10 years on child nutrition programs. It sounds like a lot, but when you do the math it works out to something like 10 cents more for school lunch, which barely covers the cost of an apple. The best the Senate has been able to come up with is a 6-cent increase. And in the House, much lip service is being paid to improving school food, but congressmen say they just can't find the money to do it.

But the best part of this year's re-authorization proposal wouldn't cost any money at all. It would simply give the country's agriculture secretary authority to remove unhealthy foods from schools that currently go unregulated.

The House held a hearing on the bill yesterday with U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack the feature speaker. Jill Richardson has a detailed recap at her blog, La Vida Locavore. And you can go here to see videos.

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