The new Republican-led Congress is preparing for a food fight with the White House over First Lady Michelle Obama's unpopular school lunch program.
“As the opening bell sounds for the 114th Congress, don’t be surprised to see GOP lawmakers take on school nutrition,” Politico reported
The school lunch program has been widely derided by students who post pictures of colorless lumps of food and skimpy portions designed to reduce calories. School officials have also complained that students throw away much of the food or just refuse to buy lunches from the cafeterias, causing the school districts to lose money.
Republicans, who will control both houses of Congress in January, are preparing to challenge the Obama administration over a bill to reauthorize the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act.
Rep. John Kline (R-Minnesota), chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee, and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who will chair the Senate Agriculture Committee, are both critical of the program.
They will give a boost to the current opposition led by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Alabama), chairman of the House Appropriations Agriculture Subcommittee, and Sen. John Hoeven (R-North Dakota), a member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee.
The School Nutrition Association, which originally supported the nutrition standards, has turned against the program over excessive costs and waste.
“Even as they claim to support the act, the lunch ladies have become the shock troops in a sometimes absurdly complex battle to roll back the Obama administration’s anti-obesity agenda,” The New York Times wrote
in an in-depth article on the food fight in October.
The new political climate on Capitol Hill was welcomed by the lobbying group, which represents 55,000 school cafeteria workers.
“We’re hopeful,” spokeswoman Diane Pratt-Heavner told Politico.
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