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The Nature of the Opposition

December 13, 2010

Representing $4.5 billion in new federal spending, the intent of Senator Blanche Lincoln’s S.3307: Healthy, Hunger-Free Kid’s Act was clear when she first introduced it on May 5, 2010.  The opening title read: A Path to End Childhood Hunger.

Sen. Lincoln first made history by becoming the youngest woman ever elected to the Senate in 1998 at the age of 38.  This beautifully written Act, which enjoyed stunning bi-partisan support in the Senate, is an extension of her progressive mind-set.  A large part of the legislation experiments with “direct certification.” This is a method to reduce overall time and paperwork by “enrolling” children who are already “enrolled” in related legislation into nutritional programs operated at the neighborhood school-level.

For example, if a child is receiving Medicaid or WIC, all a parent has to do is present proof of participation in the federal program to “automatically enroll” the student into the National School Lunch or Breakfast program operating at the local school.  Schools receive federal reimbursements for each meal served.  The federal government simplifying the process is thought to assist those working on increasing participation rates.

(See – Congressional Research Service Summary: “Establishes a demonstration project to determine the effectiveness of directly certifying children for free school meals using household income data from Medicaid.”)

On August 5, 2010 the Act enjoyed unanimous consent when put to vote. ALL 100 SENATORS – Democrats and Republics alike – voted for the government to help feed all of America’s children by 2015.

The House of Representatives is a different story.  Resistance to the Bill came in the form of WHERE the current money to fund the program was coming from. At least, $2.2 billion was coming from existing Food Stamp funding. (I have an argument for why, having followed food stamp funding lately. However, I need to complete some more research before articulating my position.)  Sources for the other $3.3 billion are subject to debate. Literally.

Georgia Congressman Tom Price argues on his official website, “Governors and local school leaders from all across the country have raised serious concerns about the contents of this bill, which uses borrowed money to enlarge old programs, create new ones, and impose heavy burdens on cash-strapped state governments. People at the local level know far better than the federal government how to best meet their children’s needs. Americans are fed up with Washington’s overspending and constant interference with decisions that should be made by families and state and local governments.”

Mind you, the good congressman is speaking about a Bill designed to reduce waste and inefficiency on the governmental level and feed children a higher grade of food through government influenced systems.  The majority of these programs require states to ADMINISTER them, not fund them.

Consequently, such resistance resulted in 157 House of Representative members voting against the feeding of America’s children on December 2, 2010.

As the new state sessions begin, By2015:AMERICA would like to urge everyone to remember that all politics are local.  Urge that YOUR local leaders do what is in the best interest of our children.  Even, if THEY do not understand where the money is going to come from.

If necessary, I propose we raise the money to feed our children.

For a Nation that cannot feed its children, is not a Nation at all.

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