There’s not a lot that Republicans and Democrats can agree upon, especially in this election year, but a bipartisan bill that reauthorizes vital child nutrition programs brought them together. Senate Agriculture Committee officials say the “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016,” reforms and reauthorizes child nutrition programs under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966 and brought praise from Farm Bureau.
“Folks said we couldn’t come to an agreement on child nutrition reauthorization – let alone a bipartisan agreement – but we did. This bipartisan legislation is a true compromise. Not everyone got everything they wanted, but a lot of folks have a lot to be happy about,” said Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS). “This legislation ensures programs use taxpayer dollars more efficiently, gives local schools more flexibility in meeting standards, and focuses on fraud and error prevention.”
“This bipartisan bill puts the health of America’s children first,” added Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI). “We are making sure our children get nutritious meals based on smart, science-based policies to give every child a fair shot at success. The investments made in this bill will give important new resources to fight hunger, from WIC to the summer meals program.”
The American Farm Bureau Federation sent a letter to the committee leadership supporting the measure and recognizing that it “improves flexibility for school lunch programs and reinforces dietary guidelines which include dairy, meat, fruits and vegetables, and grains.”
The letter stated that Farm Bureau is pleased that the proposed legislation includes provisions to boost milk and dairy product consumption through the National School Lunch Program.
“The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends three dairy servings per day and offering milk with each school meal helps to meet that goal,” Farm Bureau said. “School meal offerings should include milk or dairy products for the essential nutrients they provide to growing children, such as protein, potassium, vitamin D and calcium.”