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Child Nutrition Bill Backed by Michelle Obama Heads to President for Signing

4 years ago
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The House on Thursday passed a child nutrition bill that contains elements crucial to First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" anti-childhood obesity drive launched last February.
The measure passed 264-157 after President Obama and White House Chief of Staff Pete Rouse helped calm Congressional Black Caucus fears that the poor will get shortchanged because of curbs in future food stamp benefits to help pay for the bill.
The measure now heads to the president for signing.
Mrs. Obama said in a statement, "I am so thrilled that the House of Representatives has passed "The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act" -- a groundbreaking piece of bipartisan legislation that will significantly improve the quality of meals that children receive at school and will play an integral role in our efforts to combat childhood obesity."
The first lady urged passage of the legislation in at least 20 speeches plus interviews. Mrs. Obama never traveled to Capitol Hill to rally support for the bill but I am told by a staffer the "first lady also spoke with key members of Congress at selected times about the status of the legislation and ways she could be supportive."
The major snag was over how to fund healthier school meals and related programs. The deal called for cuts in future food stamp benefits, which alarmed members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rouse met with CBC members at a White House session to listen to their concerns, and President Obama dropped in for a quick visit. In the end, the White House pledged at some future time to deal with the food stamp issue.
In a Dec. 1 statement, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said the CBC would back the bill because "with poverty and childhood obesity on the rise, this legislation achieves the twin goals of expanding the pool of needy children who are eligible for school nutrition programs while establishing healthier meal guidelines for American schools."
She added, however, "It is unfortunate that in order to pass The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act it comes at the expense of future Supplemental Assistance Nutrition Program funding. As more Americans slip into poverty and unemployment remains at painfully high levels, we should not have to choose between feeding poor children or their parents at a time that some in Congress argue for a $700 billion tax cut for the wealthiest Americans.
"We know that President Obama and the Congressional Black Caucus share the same concerns and have the same commitment to protect vital human needs programs, especially in these difficult economic times. President Obama has given us his guarantee that these cuts will be restored in the future and that he will reiterate his commitment to do so."
Christine Tobin, president of the American Diabetes Association, said in a statement, "This legislation represents a historic improvement in federal child nutrition programs at a time when our kids gravely need it. The investment in child nutrition this bill makes will help us combat both the childhood obesity and the diabetes epidemics."

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11 Comments

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ejoy13

I think we can all do more and the government should start with SNAP, the Federal Food Stamps Program.

I see so many empty and fattening calories on the belt at grocery check-out lines and purchased at neighborhood convenient stores with these debit cards. I have seen people using their SNAP cards here in MA for items I would not buy even if I had the cash to do so, cases of soda loaded with sugar, jugs of punch, sugar laden cookies, frozen packaged salt and fat laden meals, cases of those Japanese noodle soups (tons of salt), chips, and pastry. My jaw dropped when I saw women with these cards purchasing giant cartoon decorated birthday cakes and boxes of expensive in-store bakery goods! It dropped further when I saw boxes of fried chicken, fries, subs, and container salads from the in-store deli being purchases with SNAP.

The SNAP program should be used for food, poultry, fish, meat, beans, fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads; food you cook and not convenience anything. At the very least, ban the purchase of soda with SNAP!

There are so many truly needy in this in this country. The money we could save by changing this outdated federal program would go a long way educating all of us about the addition with food we have in this country. Eat to live, don't live to eat!

January 20 2011 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
dandrequip

Whatever......fluff, fluff, fluff. This is just more proof that our country needs to be divided. Those that want/need the government to make all of their decisions for them on one side, and those that would like to make THEIR OWN decisions on the other side. The only problem is that the side that relies on government for everything would always be wanting the other side to BAIL THEM OUT of their daily financial ruin. GOVERNMENT CANNOT DO ANYTHING EFFICIENTLY! I will be absolutely shocked if this actually does anything but cost a ton of money and line the pockets of some. Politicians these days are a joke, and so are their wives.

January 07 2011 at 2:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lemuel31

Hire Jaime Oliver to revamp the schools menu. They have to start from schools head food purchaser to the " cooks" who dont really cook but just microwave the food , chicken nuggets, pizza, canned spaghettie and top with catsup -for a vegetable hahah. America, we dont need Congress to pass a law to make us concious of what we eat. Just make those supplemental cards scarce and flag all the junk foods from being purchased by the taxpayers money..period.

December 21 2010 at 1:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
asullivan4793

I think the idea of increasing child nutrition is great because of the growing issue of obesity in America. The level of food quality has diminished and this bill would at least help a little, I think. The only problem is the inconvenience and cost of the removal of these foods. The processed food is cheaper, so it would be more difficult to pay for healthier food. However, I think we should do whatever it takes to keep the children of our nation healthy!

December 03 2010 at 1:11 AM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
wrascil

Every child should have a nutritious breakfast, lunch and dinner??? I agree as long as the single parent is paying for it, accepting reasonability of there own spawn,and I'll feed my kids at home on the money I make at my job and just end welfare and food stamps all together

December 02 2010 at 10:29 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
Anthony

A lot of the school lunches are now out sourced to private companies to be warmed and delevered to the school. The days of the grumpy school cook who cooked all day and got mad if you didnt finish your food are no longer here. The companies know they have a captive audience that does not tip and cannot tell others "dont eat here." Profit is the main concern and not quality. Create jobs and hire the grumpy lunch lady to cook from scratch and provide nutional foods. At least she had pride in what she served.

December 02 2010 at 9:14 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
jcarterwc

Whatever happened to the quaint notion that parents were responsible for feeding their own children? Now schools (read, you the taxpayers), have been made responsible for providing breakfast, lunch and dinner. How about bringing your own lunch to school? Meanwhile, kids eat what they want and throw away or ignore the rest, that is a fact of life. Parents ought to know what their own kids like and provide that. And Michelle, what is it, childhood obesity or starving children?

December 02 2010 at 8:45 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
wbischo

I am happy to see this Bill come up for signing into law. It is an absolute outrage that we have to go to these lengths to insure that our children are given adequate and nutritious meals at school. When I saw examples of school lunch meals from many other countries, posted on the internet recently, it made me want to cry. They looked like meals served in nice restaurants. My grandchildren had recently come home from school talking about how hungry they were. When I asked them if they had not eaten their lunch at school, I was told that the "hamburger" in their sandwich was still frozen in the middle, and was about the size of a "mini slider". After hearing other such horror stories, I started giving them lunches from home to take with them. They still take the milk, fruit or whatever is edible from their school lunch.

December 02 2010 at 7:19 PM Report abuse -8 rate up rate down Reply
ANDIKA7

I am a single parent working in two jobs but my child eats healthy, nutritious food all week long: I am not lazy to get off my butt and COOK!!!

December 02 2010 at 7:13 PM Report abuse +12 rate up rate down Reply
Welcome Harris

time to make sure that food stamps go only for food not for casinos spending. in states now they have allowed their cash machines to accept food stamps debit cards.i dont think that food stamps was for helping people play the slot machines.If i have to take a drug test 2 times a year for my pay check how about people on welfare and food stamps having to take drugs test from time to time.we would be amazed how many people would lose their free lunches and free money then.

December 02 2010 at 7:01 PM Report abuse +14 rate up rate down Reply

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