TribLIVE

| USWorld

 
Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

House bill would let school lunches opt out of healthier meal standards

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Associated Press
Wednesday, June 11, 2014, 5:48 p.m.
 

WASHINGTON — The House began to consider legislation on Wednesday that would allow some schools to opt out of healthier meal standards — a proposal that has drawn a veto threat from the White House.

The GOP spending bill on the House floor would allow schools to waive the school lunch and breakfast standards championed by first lady Michelle Obama for the next school year if they lost money on meal programs over a six-month period. The chamber is expected to have a final vote on the bill next week.

In a statement threatening a veto, the White House said this week that the bill would be “a major step backwards for the health of American children by undermining the effort to provide kids with more nutritious food.”

The school meal rules set by Congress and the Obama administration over the past several years require more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in the lunch line. There are limits on sodium, sugar and fat.

Some school nutrition directors have lobbied for a break, saying the rules have proved to be costly and restrictive. The schools pushing for changes say limits on sodium and requirements for more whole grains are particularly challenging, while some school officials say kids are throwing away fruits and vegetables they are required to take.

Republicans have said the standards are overreach.

Rep. Robert Aderholt of Alabama, the Republican author of the agriculture spending bill that includes the provision, said the rules were put in place too quickly and schools need more time to comply. On the House floor, he emphasized that the waivers are meant to be temporary.

“This is a real problem in many school districts across the country,” Aderholt said. “It only allows schools more time if they need it.”

Rep. Sam Farr of California, the top Democrat on the agriculture spending panel, called the provision a “cop-out.” He held a rally on Capitol Hill on Wednesday with parents, chefs and lawmakers to protest the opt-out language and is expected to offer an amendment to strip out the provision.

Obama has lobbied Congress to keep the standards, holding a White House event late last month with school nutrition directors who said the guidelines are working in their schools.

The Senate did not include the opt-out language in its version of the spending bill.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.

 

 


Show commenting policy

Most-Read Nation

  1. Obama orders steeper emission cuts from power plants
  2. Hitchhiking robot’s journey west cut short in Philly
  3. West Virginia on pace to issue record number of concealed-carry permits
  4. 5,000 homes in peril of Northern Calif. wildfire
  5. Tent blows off mooring, kills 1 near Chicago
  6. Veterans notified of info breach in South Dakota
  7. Finish 44-year Hamtramck housing bias case soon, judge tells lawyers
  8. GOP leaders aloof as Texas Attorney General Paxton indicted for securities fraud
  9. Federal agents to embed with Baltimore police homicide unit
  10. Democrats see ‘firewall’ preserving Iran nuclear deal
  11. Manhunt under way for suspect in Memphis officer’s killing