The House of Representatives began consideration of the fiscal year 2015 agriculture appropriations bill under the threat of a veto by the White House. The Administration made its strong feelings known regarding the provision that relaxes school lunch nutrition requirements.
The bill contains a Republican initiative that would require USDA to establish a waiver process for the 2014-15 school year that would allow school districts to seek a one-year waiver from certain federal healthy food standards for school breakfasts and lunches during the next school year.
The White House veto threat stated, “The Administration strongly opposes language in the bill that would require the Secretary to establish a waiver process to eliminate current nutrition requirements for school breakfasts and lunches during the 2014-2015 school year for any school or district that demonstrates a net operating loss on school meals for at least six months beginning in July 2013. This would be a major step backwards for the health of American children by undermining the effort to provide kids with more nutritious food. More generally, the Administration strongly opposes the inclusion of any language in the bill that would override science-based standards that improve child nutrition.” The House of Representatives considered a number of amendments to the appropriations bill last Wednesday but further consideration of the bill has been postponed until later this summer. When the House takes up the bill again one can expect a major fight over nutrition.