By Julian Pecquet - 11/18/10 06:59 PM EST
Childhood nutrition advocates say they've been promised a vote on their top priority on Dec. 1 or Dec. 2, after Congress returns from Thanksgiving recess.
The $4.5 billion childhood nutrition bill would be considered under a closed rule, with no amendments allowed. Several House Republicans have expressed support for the bill, which cleared the Senate unanimously just before the August recess.
The bill got another shot in the arm earlier this week when liberal lawmakers who were concerned with the bill's offsets urged their House colleagues to vote for it. Half the bill is paid for by ending the enhanced food-stamp funding provided by last year's Recovery Act five months early, in November 2013.
"We have expressed our opposition to using SNAP [the food-stamp program] as a source of funds for any legislative priority to President Obama and we are confident that the President and his Administration share these concerns," write Reps. George Miller (D-Calif.), Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and James McGovern (D-Mass.). "We have been assured that they will work with Congress to restore this cut and use their current authorities to protect the integrity of SNAP and further improve children's access to the nutrition program."
The Senate bill, championed 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.