Led by Lincoln, Chambliss, bipartisan Senate majority urges Child Nutrition Act reauthorization

By Agri-Pulse Staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, May 27 – Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) sent a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership Thursday signed by 53 senators urging that the Senate take up and pass The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. The Senate Agriculture Committee passed the bill unanimously on March 24.

“This letter makes clear there is strong, bipartisan Senate support to pass The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 as soon as possible,” Lincoln said. With such little time left in this session of Congress before these programs expire, and so many other competing legislative priorities, the most important thing we can do right now is keep the wheels rolling. We simply cannot afford to delay bringing this bill to the floor.”

“The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act received strong bipartisan support in Senate Agriculture Committee and I am hopeful this letter will encourage leadership to allow the full Senate to debate the bill,” Chambliss said. “Chairman Lincoln and I worked closely to make significant improvements to current law, including measures to simplify rules and streamline operations so more children have access to meal programs outside the school setting. The bill also strikes an appropriate balance by providing important tools to combat both childhood hunger and obesity.”

In addition to continuing USDA’s authority to administer child nutrition programs, The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provides $4.5 billion in new funding over the next 10 years – nearly ten times the amount of money provided for the previous child nutrition reauthorization, and the largest new investment in child nutrition programs since their inception. The legislation also includes a six-cent increase in the federal reimbursement rate for the National School Lunch Program – the first time in nearly 40 years that Congress has taken such an action. The legislation is fully paid for.

“Bringing this legislation to the Senate floor moves us one step closer to seeing this historic, fiscally responsible and paid-for bill signed into law, improving the lives of millions of hungry children and low-income families who depend on these programs to make ends meet,” Lincoln said.

Text of the letter is below. For more information on The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, go to: http://ag.senate.gov/site/legislation.html

May 27, 2010

The Honorable Harry Reid
Majority Leader

The Honorable Mitch McConnell
Minority Leader

The Honorable Richard Durbin
Assistant Majority Leader

The Honorable Jon Kyl
Assistant Minority Leader

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Reid, McConnell, Durbin and Kyl:

We write to you today to urge swift passage in the Senate of S. 3307, the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” This fiscally responsible and bipartisan legislation, which was unanimously approved by the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on March 24 of this year, reauthorizes our nation’s major Federal child nutrition programs administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), including the National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Child and Adult Care Food Program, and Summer Food Service Program. Maintaining strong momentum for consideration of this bipartisan legislation on the Senate floor is critical as we work to improve the bill.

The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 provides $4.5 billion in additional funding over the next 10 years – nearly ten times the amount of money provided for the previous child nutrition reauthorization, and the largest new investment in child nutrition programs since their inception. The historic new investments provided by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 could not come at a more urgently needed moment, particularly given that the incidence of hunger and corresponding need for Federal nutrition assistance has increased dramatically in recent years.

In addition to their role in preventing hunger, Federal child nutrition programs play a critical role in promoting healthy lifestyles and combating the epidemic of childhood obesity, a growing and costly public health problem for our nation. Nearly 1 in 3 children throughout the United States struggle with overweight and obesity, and available health research shows a clear connection between obesity and other chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease, among others. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 contains a host of measures designed to bolster Federal efforts to aid in the fight against obesity and to give parents, schools, and local communities additional tools to help promote the kind of healthful habits that will enable children to lead longer, more productive lives.

We understand that there are many pressing legislative priorities competing for consideration on the Senate floor. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 represents an historic opportunity to enact legislation that enjoys broad bipartisan support and a strong grassroots backing among anti-hunger advocates, public health organizations, as well as many members of the food and beverage industry. With child nutrition programs scheduled to expire on September 30 of this year, time is of the essence. Accordingly, the Senate should take up and pass this legislation at the earliest possible convenience.

Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you to reauthorize child nutrition programs during this Congress.


Blanche Lincoln
Saxby Chambliss
Tom Harkin
Richard Lugar
Patrick Leahy
Thad Cochran
Amy Klobuchar
Chuck Grassley
Debbie Stabenow
Susan Collins
Sherrod Brown
Lisa Murkowski
Michael Bennet
Max Baucus
Robert Casey
Roland Burris
Ted Kaufman
Kirsten Gillibrand

Mark Warner
Carl Levin
John Kerry
Evan Bayh
Mark Begich
Jeff Merkley
Ron Wyden
Mark Pryor
Bernie Sanders
Maria Cantwell
Kay Hagan
Daniel Akaka
Tom Udall
Robert Byrd
Al Franken
Byron Dorgan
Frank Lautenberg
Mary Landrieu

Tom Carper
Kent Conrad
Jeanne Shaheen
Jay Rockefeller
Sheldon Whitehouse
Barbara Mikulski
Russ Feingold
Ben Cardin
Ben Nelson
Daniel Inouye
Jon Tester
Arlen Specter
Claire McCaskill
Bill Nelson
Herb Kohl
Olympia Snowe
Chris Dodd

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