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Update from Child Nutrition Markup So Far

by: Jill Richardson

Wed Jul 14, 2010 at 13:26:47 PM PDT

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It's been a lively afternoon in the Education and Labor Committee's markup session for the child nutrition reauthorization. Mostly the Republicans have whined about the cost and introduced multiple measures to cut money out of the bill. In fact, my very own representative, Duncan D. Hunter (the D stands for Dumbass), has attempted to cut grant money for school equipment upgrades out of the bill. All amendments thus far can be seen here.

My former representative, Susan Davis, on the other hand, put forward an amendment (which I believe was accepted or will be) to automatically enroll any children in military families who are already in the military's version of food stamps in the school lunch program.

Carol Shea-Porter (D-NH) also introduced an amendment that was accepted that sets up a grant program to help low income kids get access to food during summers when school is out.

Kucinich (D-OH) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) just introduced an amendment to put organic foods into the school lunch program and made brilliant arguments for why it should be done. The Republicans, of course, complained that it would be too expensive. It will be up for a roll call vote later.

Rep. Wu (D-OR) put forward an amendment that would allow frozen fruits into the Fresh Fruits & Vegetables program. This amendment passed.

Rep. Petri (R-WI) submitted an amendment to allow schools to donate excess food to food banks. That amendment passed.

And, because pork can come in cranberry flavor, Rep. Petri (R-WI) asked that any standards limiting added sugars in foods did not limit cranberries. Wisconsin is the nation's top producer of cranberries. It's not a crazy idea, since cranberries are pretty healthy, even with a bit of sugar added. As Petri pointed out, sweetened cranberries can have less total sugar than unsweetened apple juice. The point there isn't that cranberries with sugar are awesome but that we should think twice before guzzling down big tall glasses of apple juice. Instead, serve kids apples.

Jared Polis introduced a measure to make vegetarian food available in schools as a pilot program. Kucinich spoke out very strongly for it.

They have also debated Miller's "Manager's Amendment," which I've included details about below.

I will update this post later once I'm more certain which amendments are in and out and what, specifically, the amendments actually do. Good on the Dems for smacking down Republicans who tried to cut money out of this bill.

Jill Richardson :: Update from Child Nutrition Markup So Far
Here are some of the more significant provisions in the Manager's Amendment:

1. Expands an Afterschool Meals for At-Risk Children program. Currently this program is in 14 states and the amendment authorizes it nationwide.

2. Sets up a voluntary listing of farmers who are interested in participating in farm-to-school programs.

3. Provides technical assistance to schools trying to get local foods.

4. Calls for a study on the adequacy of cafeteria equipment to prepare foods called for by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

5. A ban on polystyrene foam (Styrofoam) in Green Cafeteria Grants.

6. Calls for a study of charter school access to school nutrition programs.

7. Increases health inspections for the summer food service program.

8. Authorizes $50 million in mandatory funding for a competitive grant program for "projects that test innovative strategies to end childhood hunger."

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