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 Politics Archive 2014

Democrats and Republicans in the House respond to Michelle Obama's article in the New York Times
by Nathan'ette Burdine: June 15, 2014

Democrats and Republicans in the House of Representatives responded to First Lady Michelle Obama’s New York Time’s op-ed concerning the House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Agriculture’s decision to allow schools to opt-out of Mrs. Obama’s school lunch program.

In the op-ed, Mrs. Obama argued that it should be “mandatory” for schools to participate in her school lunch program, which is based on the 2010 Healthy, Hungry-Free Kids Act.

According to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), 90% of schools participate in the program and the opt-out option means that 10% of the schools will not be participating.

Some schools have stated that the program is too costly on the school’s budget. And as a result, the schools aren’t able to participate in the program.

On May 29, 2014, the Agriculture Sub-Committee voted 31-18 to pass the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2015, which included the opt-out option for the school lunch program.

The vote was split down party lines, with all 31 Republicans voting in favor and 18 Democrats voting against the bill. The Democrats on the committee stated that their opposition to the bill is due to the opt-out option.

Sam Farr (D-CA), ranking member on the Agriculture Sub-Committee, said in a Thursday press release that by allowing these schools to opt-out of the school lunch program, Congress is enabling the schools to continue with the “bad habits” of serving unhealthy foods.

Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY), who is a member on the Appropriations Committee,tweeted, “If you care about what debt we pass on to our kids, don’t attack child nutrition. Debt of poor health is a horrible legacy. #saveschoollunch.”

Republicans countered that the opt-out option allows schools more time to transition into the school lunch program.

Rep. Robert Adercholt (R-AL), a member on the Agriculture Subcommittee, tweeted that the law is not changed and that schools will eventually participate in the program: “Bill ONLY allows schools more time to implement nutrition standards if needed; does not change standards or undermine law.”

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