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House GOP Blocks Child Nutrition Bill

December 2, 2010 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE: The Democrats managed to pass the bill this afternoon by holding a vote on the Republican sex-offenders amendment as a stand-alone bill. The Republicans still tried to kill the child nutrition bill with the same motion to recommit, which all but one Republican voted for, but the Democrats managed to hold strong against the motion knowing that they had already voted for the amendment and that the motion to recommit served no purpose other than to stop the bill.

Original post below…

You know things are getting ugly when a fully paid-for bill to provide poor children with healthy school lunches is blocked. Politico:

House Democrats scrapped plans to vote on an Obama-backed child nutrition bill Wednesday after Republicans threatened to force a procedural vote that would bar funds from going to child care institutions that employ individuals who refuse criminal sex-offender background checks, or lie on them.

The amendment created a bind for Democratic leaders: a vote in favor would send the bill back to the Senate, threatening its enactment in this Congress, and a vote against it would put Democrats on the record as opposing restrictions on federal funding for institutions that employ workers who have committed sex offenses against children.

The bill is S.3307, the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.” It would streamline the process for enrolling poor children in school lunch programs, increase the federal reimbursement rate for schools districts that comply with nutrition standards, help communities set up farm-to-school networks, and more. It’s paid for partially by reducing food stamp benefits.

The Democrats’ plan right now is to bring up the Republican sex offender amendment (which is actually a motion to recommit) as a separate bill this afternoon and then try again to pass the child nutrition bill. This could work, but it’s not guaranteed. The Republicans will still have the right to force a vote on a motion to recommit, and, if their sex-offender amendment was really just a poison pill (i.e. not meant as a substantive, constructive addition), there’s nothing stopping them from trying to sink the bill again by calling up some other politically-sensitive issue.

School lunch photo used under CC from Old Shoe Woman.

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