Dems call for changes to child nutrition bill

Dems call for changes to child nutrition bill
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House Democrats are pushing for changes to legislation they claim will weaken the first lady’s prized school lunch standards and make it more difficult for low-income and minority children to access meal programs. 

In a letter led by Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), 111 Democrats asked House Education and the Workforce Chairman John Kline (R-Minn.) and ranking member Bobby ScottBobby ScottRepublicans aim to kill off Obama franchise standard Bipartisan group defends national security against climate risk Ellison sings in celebration of Minneapolis approving minimum wage MORE (D-Va.) to strengthen proposed legislation to reauthorize the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act that they say now includes “misguided changes.”

The letter was also addressed to the chairman and ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary and Secondary Education, Reps. Todd Rokita (R- Ind.) and Marcia FudgeMarcia FudgeLawmakers push regulators on how Amazon's Whole Foods deal could affect 'food deserts' Dems announce 'unity commission' members If Democrats want to take back the White House start now MORE (D-Ohio).

The lawmakers said they are most concerned about the proposal to change the eligibility threshold for the Community Eligibility Provision — a program that allows schools and local educational agencies with high poverty rates to provide free breakfast and lunch to all students — from 40 percent of students to 60 percent.

“To say this change would be detrimental would be an understatement,” their letter said. “Raising the threshold to 60 percent would lead to far fewer schools qualifying for the program and more low-income children going hungry every day.”

The Democrats said they are also concerned about proposed cuts to the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) program, which provides additional food benefits on debit cards to low-income families with school-aged children during the summer months, and changes to school nutrition standards.  

The legislation calls for sodium levels to stay where they are until scientific research shows a need for further reductions and for sodium and whole grain requirements to be reviewed by Sept. 30.

The child nutrition reauthorization bill, they said, must improve access to healthy food in schools and maintain the robust nutrition standards that were included in the 2010 reauthorization.

The House Education and the Workforce Committee will meet on Wednesday to mark up the proposed bill.