(WASHINGTON) -- The House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 on Thursday by a vote of 264-157. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had joined Democrats on Wednesday to call for the swift passage of the bill.
The $4.5-billion bill, which passed unanimously in the Senate last August, would expand eligibility for school lunch programs, establish nutrition standards for all school meals, and encourage schools to use locally sourced food. It would also raise the reimbursement rate to six cents per meal, marking the first time in over 30 years that Congress has increased funding for school lunch programs.
Passage of this legislation helps to advance the Obama Administration's goal of addressing the childhood obesity problem within a generation -- a sentiment at the heart of the first lady's "Let's Move!" campaign.
Despite their support, some Democrats opposed the way the Senate bill is funded, since it would take $2.2 billion away from food stamp programs. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., fought back against critics who questioned the legislation’s hefty price tag. "Some folks will say, ‘How can we afford this bill at the moment?,’" she said. "How can we afford not to pass it? Leaving millions of children hungry and malnourished now in the name of budget cutting is penny wise and pound foolish."
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