Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) vowed Thursday that Democrats will do everything they can to keep what she called an “incredibly partisan and ideological” child nutrition reauthorization bill from ever making it to the floor for a vote.
DeLauro is outraged by a provision in the Child Nutrition and Education Act that creates a three-state pilot program for block grant child nutrition assistance programs.
The provision, she argued, gives Republicans a “foot in the door to eviscerate the entire school lunch program down the road.”
“The way it’s currently structured with a block grant, a state can make a decision to guarantee only one meal a day for children,” she said during a press conference Thursday.
“We’re not talking about just some budget line item that doesn’t have any meaning. We’re talking about whether children across this great country of ours are too hungry to be able to function,” she later added.
The bill, which passed through committee last month, also changes a program that allows schools to offer all if its students free meals if 40 percent of the student body qualified for free meals. The change bumps that threshold to 60 percent. It also rolls back some of first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaYouTube confirms it picked kids featured in Harris video Photos of the Week: Congressional Baseball Game, ashen trees and a beach horse The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Alibaba - Gears begin to shift in Congress on stalled Biden agenda MORE's prized healthy school meal standards.
Republicans argue that nutrition assistance will be improved with a 2-cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for school breakfasts and a pilot program that allows schools the flexibility to explore more effective ways to provide assistance to children and families in need.
Joined by Democratic colleagues, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), DeLauro warned that Republicans have four weeks until the August recess to try to bring the bill to the floor for a vote.
“It is critical to demonstrate to members on both sides of the isle how detrimental this bill is,” she said. “Every Congressional district is impacted by these cuts. Hunger exists in each and every community whether it is represented by a Republican or Democrat.”
During the press conference, DeLauro also slammed the poverty plan House Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanJuan Williams: Pelosi shows her power Cheney takes shot at Trump: 'I like Republican presidents who win re-election' Cheney allies flock to her defense against Trump challenge MORE (R-Wis.) unveiled on Tuesday.
“Paul Ryan’s sham poverty plan task force says that it is focused on eradicating poverty but it’s cuts like this that demonstrate where they’re coming from,” she said. “His plan will drive more and more Americans into poverty and make more and more Americans hungry.”