Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Gets Unanimous Support in Committee

Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act Gets Unanimous Support in Committee

Vilsack says even more can be done.

Despite some concerns and discussion about the budget offsets proposed to pay for the bill the Senate Agriculture Committee unanimously approved the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 Wednesday. The bipartisan legislation to reauthorize childhood nutrition programs would invest $4.5 billion in new child nutrition program funding over the next 10 years. Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., called the committee vote a monumental step forward.

Lincoln
said she was proud her colleagues on both sides of the aisle voted to support this legislation that puts the nation on the path to ending childhood hunger and addressing the epidemic of childhood obesity.

The bill invests in new initiatives to enroll more children in the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, which currently have 30 million and 10 million children participating respectively. It also includes a provision to create national school nutrition standards for foods sold on school campuses throughout the school day.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says this is a significant step toward legislation that reduces hunger, improves the health of our children and supports their academic achievement. But he adds the Administration believes additional access and nutrition goals can and should be accomplished by passing a more robust bill that supports the President's $10 billion budget request.

Still, Vilsack applauded the efforts of the Committee to develop a strong bill to reauthorize and reform the Child Nutrition Act and said their action shows there's bipartisan support for reforming the nation's school meal programs to improve meal quality and reduce barriers to participation. He called on Congress to continue making progress on this important priority.

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