Under pressure from lawmakers, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has changed its school lunch requirements to allow more meats and grains.
In a statement Saturday, Senator John HoevenJohn HoevenSenate panel considers how to fund Trump’s T infrastructure package A guide to the committees: Senate GOP senators unveil bill to give Congress control of consumer bureau budget MORE’s (R-N.D.) office said USDA informed him in a letter on Friday that it lifted its limitations on intake of grains, starches and protein.
“I’m grateful to [Agriculture] Secretary [Tom] Vilsack for recognizing that the rules need to allow for individual differences among children and the prerogatives of local school districts, and resources available to them,” Hoeven said in a statement.
Nevertheless, USDA’s modifications to the requirements are temporary and only apply to this current school year. Hoeven said he wants the changes to be made permanent.
“While we welcome this news from USDA, we believe the new flexibility should be permanent, rather than for just the 2012-2013 school year, and we will continue to press that case,” Hoeven said.
Hoeven said the response came from a letter that he and Sen. Mark PryorMark PryorMedicaid rollback looms for GOP senators in 2020 Cotton pitches anti-Democrat message to SC delegation Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm MORE (D-Ark.) sent to USDA last month. Other senators who signed on to the letter include James InhofeJames InhofeRepeal of Obama drilling rule stalls in the Senate GOP senator: EPA 'brainwashing our kids' A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Okla.), Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), Mike EnziMike EnziTop Dem: Trump's State Dept. cuts a 'Ponzi scheme' Republicans eye strategy for repealing Wall Street reform Lawmakers fundraise amid rising town hall pressure MORE (R-Wyo.), Jon TesterJon TesterOvernight Defense: Pentagon chief urges Congress to approve budget boost | Senate fight over NATO addition Defense chief after Trump tweet: NATO doesn't track 'past money owed' Eye on 2018: Five special elections worth watching MORE (D-Mont.), John ThuneJohn ThuneWeek ahead: Robocall crackdown tops FCC meeting agenda Here's how Congress can get people to live healthy lifestyles Ryan huddles with GOP factions on healthcare bill MORE (R-S.D.), John BarrassoJohn BarrassoOvernight Energy: Ethanol groups prep for fight over mandate Trump’s nominee to lead FDA could make drug prices low again Top Senate Republicans ding CBO amid concerns over ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Wyo.), Jerry MoranJerry MoranGOP lawmakers lead way in holding town halls Yahoo reveals new details about security A guide to the committees: Senate MORE (R-Kans.), Dan Coates (R-Ind.) and Tim JohnsonTim JohnsonCourt ruling could be game changer for Dems in Nevada Bank lobbyists counting down to Shelby’s exit Former GOP senator endorses Clinton after Orlando shooting MORE (D-S.D.).
Others praised the move by USDA. In a statement Friday, Tester said this will give schools more flexibility.
“Schools need flexibility to make sure kids get the nutrition they need to focus on their studies. I appreciate USDA's willingness to listen to Montana parents, teachers, and administrators and look forward to working with USDA to adjust these new guidelines so they work for all of our kids,” Tester said.
This isn’t the first time Capitol Hill has bristled at the USDA school lunch requirements. Last year, Congress blocked several of the department’s requirements, including limiting potatoes and not classifying tomato paste on a pizza as a vegetable.