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School Lunch Reform Before Autumn May Still Be Possible

There may still be hope for the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act to have an impact on students starting school in the fall.

The bill's author, Senator Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas, is pushing for a final vote in the Senate before summer recess.

If the bill doesn't get passed by September 30, the Agriculture Committee may have to re-appropriate funds for a new child nutrition bill to be introduced next session. That means Lincoln's bill could lose funding on either a temporary or permanent basis.

Legislative Acrobatics

The Washington Post reports that Lincoln has been doing legislative acrobatics to garner senatorial attention.

On Thursday, she held a press conference with by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), both of whom support pushing the nutrition bill through the Senate within the next three weeks.

Sen. Lugar said Lincoln's bill already has everything in place to move through the Senate quickly:

As a former chairman of the Agriculture Committee, I know the difficulties in moving nutrition legislation. This bill was approved by the committee in March. There has been no significant opposition since then. For many children from low income homes, food from child nutrition programs may provide the bulk of the nutrition they receive during the day...Given our economic climate, we should seize this moment to pass the bill.

Lincoln's bill has not yet made it onto the Senate Democrats' must-pass agenda for the rest of the session, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he is still hopeful that the bill will be passed before the August recess... and before kids go back to school.

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