Congress has until this Thursday, Sept. 30 to pass legislation reauthorizing the Child Nutrition Act. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack says it is imperative that Congress move on this bill.
"We can't continue the status quo," Vilsack said. "We found the time and the effort and the strategy and the will to help out small businesses and small banks; I think it is time for us to spend just a day or two to try to figure out how to help small children in this country."
Debra Lockwood, chair of the American Heart Association, says that the country can not afford failure to pass this reauthorization.
"We can not squander the chance to do the right things for our kids," Lockwood said. "It will mean schools won't receive extra funding to improve meal quality and that low nutrient, high caloric snacks fueling the obesity epidemic will continue to be in schools. It will also mean fewer opportunities to educate kids about good nutrition and keeping active."
Reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act would for the first time since 1973 increase the school lunch Federal reimbursement rate.
"Our hope is that a strong reauthorization bill will work towards our goal of eliminating child hunger by 2015," Vilsack said. "By reducing barriers to accessing child nutrition programs and reducing gap periods like summer and after school."