June 10, 2010
On Thursday, June 10, House Education and Labor Chairman George Miller (D-CA), Rep. Todd Platts (R-PA), Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-CT), and Rep. James McGovern (D-MA) introduced the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act of 2010.
The bill will become the basic vehicle for House consideration of the five-year reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act. Chairman Miller is hoping to mark up a bill in committee in the coming weeks.
The proposal includes $50 million in mandatory funding for the Farm to School program, an NSAC priority, as well as improvements in access to meals and nutritional quality.
The Farm to School language in the bill draws heavily from Rep. Rush Holt’s Farm to School Improvement Act of 2010, introduced in the House in February and with 29 co-sponsors.
The Miller bill’s price tag is expected to be in the $8 billion range over the next ten years, though the Congressional Budget Office has not yet determined the precise estimated cost.
The tentative schedule is for the Education and Labor Committee to mark up the bill sometime the week of June 21, send it to the floor in time for a full House vote, House and Senate conference committee agreement, and final approval by both chambers before the current child nutrition law expires on September 30.
The Senate’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was voted out of the Agriculture Committee unanimously (blog link) but has not yet been scheduled for a vote on the floor. It too includes strong Farm to School language, though funding is a bit lower at $40 million in mandatory money.
The Senate bill would cost $4.5 billion over ten years and is fully offset by funding reductions in other programs, including $2.8 billion from cuts to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), an offset strongly opposed by NSAC.
NSAC has received assurances from key House offices that Farm Bill conservation program cuts will not be part of any offset package offered in the House of Representatives to pay for important nutrition program improvements.
We will continue to urge swift action on both bills.