Last week, the Senate unanimously passed the Child Nutrition Reauthorization, a bill that would do just about everything to improve the school lunch program – except fund it. This is no small exception, considering that a tiny percentage of schools are currently able to follow the USDA’s nutrition regulations. How will they be able to comply with improved regulations with only six additional cents per lunch? And, although it passed in the Senate, the bill may still die on the House floor because some in Congress think even six cents is too much.
The school lunch debate has devolved entirely into a fight over the budget, and a rather disingenuous one at that. If members of Congress truly need to cut the budget somewhere in order to adequately fund healthy school lunches, they need not look further than the Pentagon. Representatives and Senators so love to fund weapons programs that provide jobs in their districts that they continue purchasing fighter jets even after the Pentagon begs them not to. (For example, the C-17, the F-35 engine, and the F-22.)