Senate approves $4.5B child nutrition bill

The Senate passed a child nutrition bill by unanimous consent Thursday afternoon.

The $4.5 billion proposal, sponsored by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), expands eligibility for school meal programs; establishes nutrition standards for all foods sold in schools; and provides 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. The bill is fully paid for.

The Senate bill is less generous than a $10 billion measure supported by the White House.

The House is also pushing a more expansive, $8 billion version of the legislation, sponsored by Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller (D-Calif.). Miller's panel passed his bill last month but the full House has yet to take up the measure.