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Congress Does Not Reauthorize Child Nutrition Program

Wed, Dec 16th 2015 02:25 pm

Congressional Action on FY 2016 Omnibus Spending Bill

A $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill was unveiled last night which included a provision that continues to give schools more flexibility on whole grain school meal standards and prohibits future sodium restrictions until supported by scientific studies. The FY 2016 Omnibus package did NOT include a five-year reauthorization of child nutrition programs. Hill staff have indicated that they hope to have a Child Nutrition Reauthorization bill early in 2016. Another short-term stop gap measure is expected to pass today before funding expires at midnight to give lawmakers until December 22 to pass the year-long spending bill. The Senate and the House will likely vote on the measure tomorrow.

Explanatory Language Relevant to Child Nutrition Programs:
Concerns remain about the challenges and costs that local schools face in implementing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Some schools are continuing to have difficulty complying with the whole grain requirements that went into effect on July 1, 2014, and there continues to be concern with further reductions in the sodium requirements for school meals. The Secretary provided guidance to States so that exemptions could be offered to school food authorities demonstrating a hardship from the current whole grain standards, as required by the fiscal year 2015 Appropriations Act. This flexibility is extended for the 2016-17 school year. The agreement also continues a provision that sodium standards cannot be reduced below Target 1 until the latest scientific research establishes the reduction is beneficial for children.

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