Senate Agriculture Committee Passes Bipartisan Child Nutrition Reauthorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., today held a business meeting where bipartisan legislation to reauthorize child nutrition programs was favorably reported out of the Agriculture Committee.

The legislation, “Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act of 2016,” reforms and reauthorizes child nutrition programs under the Richard B. Russell National School Lunch Act and the Child Nutrition Act of 1966.

“Folks said we couldn’t come to an agreement on child nutrition reauthorization – let alone a bipartisan agreement – but we did. This bipartisan legislation is a true compromise. Not everyone got everything they wanted, but a lot of folks have a lot to be happy about,” said Chairman Roberts. “This legislation ensures programs use taxpayer dollars more efficiently, gives local schools more flexibility in meeting standards, and focuses on fraud and error prevention. We have a comprehensive and inclusive product including the concerns of school nutrition professionals, students, producers, and public health groups. Every Committee member played a role in crafting this legislation and I am pleased we could carry on the tradition of bipartisanship on the Agriculture Committee. I appreciate the efforts of Ranking Member Stabenow and thank her for her partnership along the way.”

“This bipartisan bill puts the health of America’s children first,” said Ranking Member Stabenow. “We are making sure our children get nutritious meals based on smart, science-based policies to give every child a fair shot at success. The investments made in this bill will give important new resources to fight hunger, from WIC to the summer meals program. I would like to thank Chairman Roberts for his partnership in this process, and I urge members of the Senate to support this commonsense bill.”

The legislation, crafted in a deliberative and bipartisan manner, reflects increased integrity, flexibility, efficiency, and modernization in child nutrition programs while continuing to emphasize nutrition, effectiveness, and access for vulnerable populations.

Specifically, the legislation:

  • Improves integrity in school meal programs while ensuring that access to the programs for eligible participants is not compromised.
  • Provides flexibility to school food operators while preserving the intent to provide our nation’s schoolchildren with healthful meals, leading to improved academic performance and healthy eating habits.
  • Strengthens the summer meals program through reduced administrative burden and relief of regulations that prevented local innovations.
  • Increases efficiency for participants, stakeholders, and related industry, thereby increasing the effectiveness with which these programs use taxpayer resources to serve eligible populations.
  • Uses modern technology to reduce paperwork and improve accuracy.

For more information on the bill, click here.