Senate hopes to pass childhood nutrition bill today

The Senate hopes to pass the child nutrition bill by unanimous consent Thursday afternoon, a Democratic leadership aide said.

The $4.5 billion proposal, sponsored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), would expand eligibility for school meal programs; establish nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools; and provide a 6-cent increase for each school lunch to help cafeterias serve healthier meals.

Lincoln’s bill passed unanimously out of the Senate Agriculture Committee in March, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said repeatedly that he wants to get to the bill before the August recess.

The House has yet to take up its version of the measure.