Thursday, November 10, 2016
CONSERVATIVES CRITIQUE PENDING CHILD NUTRITION BILLS
The House and the Senate might soon consider child nutrition bills that would reauthorize the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (which expired more than a year ago!). Both bills would maintain the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP), which gives free meals to students regardless of family income (i.e., universal school meals), leave intact (with some minor tweaks) the prescriptive federal school meal standards, and expand welfare and federal food assistance. Should either bill move forward, the conservative Heritage Foundation maintains, many policymakers, including conservatives, would be conceding child nutrition policy to those seeking greater federal control and a larger welfare state. In brief, the Foundation’s basic objection to the Community Eligibility Provision is that it provides free meals to children whose families can afford to pay. School meal standards, it contends, impose strict, one-size-fits-all rules that dictate the specific types and amount of food that schools can serve. And Summer EBT programs are unneeded because SNAP, WIC, and existing summer meal programs are sufficient.