GOP bill forces White House, USDA to eat school lunch

Three House Republicans have introduced legislation that would force the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to live by the same nutrition standards that the Obama administration is forcing on high school students.

Reps. Rodney Davis (Ill.), David Joyce (Ohio) and Sam Graves (Mo.) introduced the School Nutrition Fairness Act, H.R. 3686.

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The bill is a response to the USDA's nutrition standards that many Republicans say are leaving kids hungry in school, and forcing them to be served vegetables that are ending up in the trash, even as they increase the cost of providing meals.

"Students, parents and educational leaders in my district and across the country have expressed concerns about meeting the new nutrition standards for school meals," Davis said. "While these regulations were put in place with good intentions, they are making it harder for school districts to do their job, leading to increased costs, decreased participation and in some cases, hungry children."

He said the Obama administration has so far failed to react to these complaints, but said forcing the White House to live by its own standards would help. The bill would require all White House meals and meals in USDA cafeterias to abide by current school lunch standards.

"Unfortunately, Washington is not getting the message," Davis said. "In order to demonstrate to the Executive Branch the problems that these regulations are imposing on our school districts, I think the White House and USDA should have to abide by the same nutritional standards imposed on our students."

Davis said the Government Accountability Office has suggested waiving the meat and grain maximums in schools, and give schools more flexibility on calorie limits that have been set. However, he said the administration has ignored these suggestions.

Last year, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) proposed a bill to repeal USDA's calorie limits on lunches.

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