CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
S. 3307 is expected to be reconsidered on the House floor on Thursday, December 2, 2010. On December 1, 2010, Democrates removed S. 3307 from consideration on the House floor after the Republican offered the Motion to Recommit. Senator Lincoln (D-AR) introduced the bill on May 5, 2010, and the Senate approved the bill by unanimous consent on August 5, 2010.
S. 3307 would increase federal spending by $4.6 billion on school meal programs, expand the size of government by creating or expanding 17 programs, place onerous unfunded mandates on local school districts and state governments, increase prices for paying families, and allow federal bureaucrats to determine what foods children can and cannot be served at school. The bill affects the following child nutrition programs:
Child Nutrition Act and Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act: The bill would reauthorize and provide funding for the current school meal programs.
National School Lunch Program: The bill would make all foster children automatically eligible for the National School Breakfast Program and the National School Lunch Program. A maximum of 15 states that implement and improve direct eligibility certification would be eligible for $4 million in performance and improvement awards. The bill would authorize demonstration projects to allow the use of Medicaid/SCHIP data to certify eligibility for children. The bill would allow schools in high poverty areas to use census data to estimate the percentage of children eligible for lunch programs rather than collecting individual applications. Lastly, the proposal would create a new, one-time grant program to expand the number of schools participating in the breakfast programs.
Summer Food Service Program: S. 3307 would create a summer food grant program and allow all 501(c) and 501(d) organizations to participate in the summer food service program. The Secretary of Agriculture would be required to provide each state with money to distribute information on the availability and location of summer food programs and school breakfast programs.
Child and Adult Care Food Program: S. 3307 would expand eligibility to any school where at least 50 percent of the children are eligible for free or reduced price meals. The bill would expand the at-risk afterschool meal program to all states and establish national nutrition standards. It would direct the USDA Secretary to work with the secretary of Health and Human Services to encourage state licensing agencies to develop nutrition and wellness standards and include meeting the standards as a requirement for receiving a child care license. Lastly, S. 3307 would require the USDA Secretary, in conjunction with the Secretary of HHSs, to do a national study on the nutritional quality of foods provided in child care settings.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): S. 3307 would authorize WIC providers to certify children as eligible for benefits for one year. Currently, children aged 1-4 must be certified every six months. Additionally, the bill would require the states to have an electronic benefits transfer system in place by October 2020.
Childhood Hunger: S. 3307 would require the USDA Secretary to research the causes and consequences of childhood hunger and authorize the Secretary to award contracts or grants to conduct the study. S. 3307 would create a new program to test different methods for ending childhood hunger and new state childhood hunger challenge grants for demonstration projects. The bill would require the USDA Secretary to conduct a study on regulating the prices of school meals.
School Nutrition Programs: Each school that is certified by the state to be in compliance with the new nutrition standards would receive an additional federal reimbursement of 6 cents per meal. The proposal would require that all fluid milk served in schools is consistent with the most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans and all schools participating in the school lunch program to make potable (drinking) water available, free of charge, during all meal services. The bill would require the USDA Secretary to establish minimum standards for all Local Wellness Policies, including goals for nutrition promotion and education, physical activity and education, and other school-based activities. S. 3307 would require school food authorities to increase the average price of full priced meals by a specified formula if there is less than $2.06 difference between the cost of a reduced price meal and the cost of a full price meal, therefore establishing a minimum price that school food authorities must charge for full priced meals. S. 3307 would establish revenue requirements for School Food Service Programs and create new requirements in accounting and audit systems to ensure compliance with nutritional requirements. S. 3307 would require local education reporting on school nutrition programs and physical activity. Lastly, the bill would create an organic food pilot program.
Special Supplemental Nutrition program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): The bill would recommend how states and agencies should collect data on breastfeeding rates and awards states with cash for the highest performing and most improved rates of breastfeeding.
Nutrition Education & Obesity Prevention Grant Program: S. 3307 would create a grant program to help state agencies establish nutrition education and obesity prevention programs.
Procurement Technical Assistance and Guidance: S. 3307 would require the USDA Secretary to establish best practices to support a school’s ability to purchase high-quality, safe food that promotes compliance with the school meal program requirements.
Farm to School: S. 3307 would create $100,000, two-year grants to schools for the planning and implementation of sustainable local food networks.
Healthy Eating Promotion Program: The legislation would require the USDA Secretary to establish a research, demonstration, and technical assistance program to help promote healthy eating.
National School Lunch Program: S. 3307 would expand food safety requirements for school food service to extend to all areas in which school food is stored, prepared, and served and require the Secretary to establish criteria to impose fines on violators. S. 3307 would require the secretary to issue guidance on the allowable costs that may be charged to a school’s food service account. Lastly, the bill would change the recall procedures to make them consistent with GAO recommendations to support improved communication between regulatory agencies.
Some members may be concerned that despite the nation’s current $20 billion annual investment in child nutrition assistance and record debt, S. 3307 would spend an additional $4.65 billion to create or expand 17 programs including an “organic” food pilot. The Democrats’ proposal would use borrowed money from the student supplemental nutrition assistance program (SNAP) program in the stimulus to “pay for” the Senate bill, even as they try to find a way to restore these SNAP cuts down the road.
Some members may be concerned that the bill would authorize the federal government to dictate what types of “nutritional” food will be served in schools. Such an expansion of government could mean that the government could determine what foods are sold at concession stands and fundraisers. Overreach by the federal government takes decision making away from states, local school districts, and families.
Some members may be concerned that according to the American Association of School Administrators, Council of the Great City Schools, and the National School Boards Association, “U.S. Department of Agriculture studies document that school districts’ cost of providing free lunches exceeds the federal reimbursement by over thirty cents per meal, or an annual cost of $54,000 for school districts serving 1,000 students daily – the equivalent cost of retaining a teacher.” The new requirements in the child nutrition bill would increase school district costs and drain school budgets even further.
Some members may be concerned that the bill would increase the cost of school meals to paying families. As the National Governors’ Association stated, “This bill would establish a federal mandate for every paid meal for every school in the country for the first time ever.…a provision that would also act as a disincentive for districts to hold down meal costs, price out some low-income families from paid school meals, and punish school districts that in good faith have worked to increase quality…while…holding down meal prices.”
Currently, the federal government funds child nutrition programs through the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act.
Groups representing school administrators, city schools, and school boards oppose S. 3307 and endorse reauthorizing exiting government meal programs. In a November 15, 2010, letter from the American Association of School Administrators, Council of the Great City Schools, and National School Boards Association, the organization stated: “All of the national organizations representing the nation’s public school districts do not support the Senate version of the Child Nutrition reauthorization bill (S. 3307) pending before the House.”
The 111th Congress has spent money on some of these programs already. The “stimulus” bill included $100 million for school food services and an extra $500 million for the WIC program.
The government spends $20 billion annually already on child nutrition assistance.
CBO estimates S. 3307 will cost $4.65 billion over ten years. S. 3307 would use borrowed money from the student Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program in the stimulus to “pay for” the Senate bill.