After passing unanimously through the Senate last summer and more narrowly through the House (264-157) earlier this month, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 has finally received the president’s signature. The new law authorizes a federal nutrition program for children, reports the Associated Press. The $4.5-billion measure extends school lunch assistance to the needy, sets federal nutritional standards for all food in schools and will mandate programs to combat childhood obesity and related diseases.
Some say child nutrition bill smacks of socialism
Critics of the child nutrition bill object to the federal government determining what foods are healthy for children, believing that parents should make that decision. However, the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act is exceedingly popular in Washington, D.C., particularly with First Lady Michelle Obama. Child nutrition and exercise have been big talking points for Michelle Obama, and she has pushed the cause fervently with the president both in public and in private.
Publicly, President Obama spoke of the child nutrition bill as being “an act about doing what is right for children,” and he praised the bill as being a rare example of strong bipartisan cooperation.
Avoiding the couch
While First Lady Michelle Obama offered serious praise for the child nutrition bill passed during a presentation at Washington D.C.’s Harriett Tubman Elementary School, she also jokingly suggested that if the president had not taken the bill seriously, “he would have been sleeping on the couch.”
Lapsing back into serious discourse, Michelle Obama told the students, teachers and media gathered at the presentation of the new law that the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 was a fundamental need for U.S. children.
“Nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our children. Nothing,” said Michelle Obama.
Taking from Peter to pay Paul
President Obama confirmed that the child nutrition bill will increase spending on school lunches by approximately 6 cents per child. In order to fund this increase, the president said that cuts were made to the national food stamp program. While he did offer that he is currently working with Congress to find a way to restore what was cut, this method of funding has raised some eyebrows.