This is an excerpt reprinted with permission from The Hagstrom Report, a news service providing original national and international agricultural news to its subscribers.
The Senate adjourned today without considering a bill to reauthorize the child nutrition programs including school meals for five years.
The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed the bill unanimously and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and ranking member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., had hoped to convince members to allow the bill to pass by unanimous consent.
But Roberts said in a statement late Wednesday, “Among the achievements of the Senate Agriculture Committee this Congress is our unanimously approved bipartisan child nutrition reauthorization bill. As we have prepared for floor consideration, Senators on both sides of the aisle have shared concerns. I appreciate their input and remain committed to moving this legislation across the finish line this year.”
Roberts did not provide details of the objections. A Senate aide said that Republican senators were polled using the “hotline” process to determine whether the senators would vote for it, but that the Democratic leadership did not hotline the bill.
The White House has endorsed the Senate bill and nutrition advocates had hoped it would pass by unanimous consent.
The House has passed a very different version of the bill that would relax some of the healthier meal provisions established under the 2010 Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, make it more difficult to universal free meals in poor communities and create a pilot project turning over the school meals program to the states.
Nutrition advocates and the School Nutrition Association, which represents school food service directors and the companies that make school foods, object to the House bill, with SNA particularly opposing the pull back in universal free meals and the pilot project.
The Hagstrom Report covers Congressional hearings, markups and press conferences in Washington D.C., as well as national nutrition news and farm meetings throughout the United States. Subscribers to The Hagstrom Report receive a digital newsletter daily while Congress is in session and at other times as events require and news happens.