Hoeven Backs Legislation To Overturn Federal School Lunch Limits Permanently


I’m not sure there’s anything more absurd than our bankrupt, debt-laden federal government which passed passed a budget in years micromanaging school lunches in communities around the nation. Most recently, as a part of First Lady Michelle Obama’s war on fat kids, the federal government imposed school lunch guidelines so stringent that many students were left hungry during the day.

The USDA put a moratorium on those new regulations, suspending them temporarily, but Senator John Hoeven is backing legislation to make that moratorium permanent:

The act fixes the latest rulings on meat and grain servings made in December by the Department of Agriculture.

It will “make sure that schools are able to provide healthy, nutritious school lunches” and breakfasts, Hoeven said Tuesday. “But at the same time, that we have the common sense and flexibility built into it so that it meets the kids’ needs and is workable for the schools.”

Hoeven said his bill, S427, lifts the USDA’s previous cap on servings of proteins and grains while leaving in place total calorie caps and the USDA’s emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains and non-fat dairy selections.

He said an older version of the nutrition rules, widely derided, cost the nation’s schools $75 million to implement, while older children complained they were hungry.

Hoeven said the USDA’s plan to extend its relaxed guidelines through next year seemed like a piecemeal approach.

“Let’s make this change permanent so schools know what to count on.” he said.

Kudos to Senator Hoeven for fighting the good fight on this issue, but really this is an argument for decoupling the state from federal funding as much as possible. Local education officials shouldn’t have to wait around waiting for Washington DC to do something to solve a problem like inadequate school lunches. Below is an interview I did with North Dakota Superintendent Kirsten Baesler who is backing a study into how to make the state’s schools more independent of federal money and policies.

In related news, North Dakota Democrats who went ballistic over Republicans refusing to increase the daily school milk allotment for school kids from a pint to a pint and a half (won’t anyone think of the poor, starving children?) were totally silent on this issue. The hypocrites.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • WOOF

    $335 million dollars of Federal money comes with rules.
    The horror.
    $83 million for poor children’s education directly to the classroom.
    $68 million for Special needs children.
    She thinks a study is necessary to discover if North Dakota would be
    better off without the money.

    Put Kirsten in the lunchroom in a hairnet and don’t let her near
    the cash register.

    • http://sayanythingblog.com Rob

      A) The federal government is broke, and broken

      B) ND doesn’t need the funds

      C) It’s absurd to set national, one-size-fits-all school lunch policy.

      But how dare we move to local control, right? We must be secessionists or something.

      • WOOF

        What oppressive rules is the rebellion against ? “ND doesn’t need the funds”, I’ll wait for Kevin. the legislature and the Governor to express themselves.

    • Thresherman

      So Woof, how much more money does the Feds have to take to be able to dole that much out? As a rule the federal government spends 80 cents on administration costs out of every dollar given out. Wouldn’t then be smarter to keep the money here and distribute it her instead of subsidizing a jobs program for federal bureaucrats in the name of educating kids? Not to mention all the money local schools have to pay just to meet all the attached strings the feds impose as grounds for accepting that money.

      • WOOF

        Blatantly Bogus: ” the federal government spends 80 cents on administration costs out of every dollar given out”

        • Thresherman

          Care to offeranything to justify your denial?

          • WOOF

            Social Security and Medicaid. You got what ?

  • Harlan Goerger

    Woof, yes “free” money from the fed sounds great. I had several conversations with Kirstin prior to the election on this issue. Talking with other education heads, they estimated the cost of complying with the fed regs was something in the area of $2 cost for $1 of funds. How is that a good deal? No they had no concrete numbers which is exactly why the study would be a good idea to verify the actual cost of the “free” funds. The problem is one of dependency, once dependent you have no control over your own destiny. I would prefer self-control.

    • WOOF

      The Feds give cash to the schools for every meal served. They’ve been doing this since Truman. $2.86 for every free meal served, $2.46 for reduced price lunches, money for snacks. Doubt it costs 3 X $2.86 for ND schools to give a poor kid lunch. http://www.fns.usda.gov/slp

      • JoeMN

        Speaking for an acquaintance who is a head cook in a school, and who must budget for these meals, many of the “approved” foods were just too expensive to be offered.

  • Waski_the_Squirrel

    Obesity is an issue. However, are school lunches really the cause of obesity?

    Lunches are an easy target because there is someone who can be demonized. It’s much more difficult to demonize parents who won’t cook or watch what their kids eat, and parents who won’t keep junk food out of their houses. Portion control in a school lunch is not the problem.

  • The fighting Czech

    Thank you Senator Hoeven…. you concentrate on the real issues like giving little Johnny another fish stick with his lunch, dont sweat the little stuff. Like Obama’s Posse thinking its completely cool to Thump a Hell fire missile into some US citizen’s chest, on US soil. after they deem him an enemy of the state. no problems there….Im so disappointed in that man. next time he’s up for election I wont be voting for John.