Saturday, December 04, 2010

MN-02: Kline’s Let Them Eat Cake Moment

The aftermath of the House passage of the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Programs, the headline writers and blogsophere are obscuring the legislation with talk of Bake Sales. Using the same AP story, the headlines range from Bye Brownies: Bill Could Limit Bake Sales to Hold the sweets; new bill would limit bake sales.
Any difference between these two words “could” and “would” ? Well, not if it can be used to be used as a volley in the Nanny-State Wars … and John Kline (R-MN-02) is right there :
Rep. John Kline of Minnesota, the senior Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee, said the federal government “has really gone too far” when it is deciding when to hold bake sales. [Sarah] Palin mocked the efforts last month by bringing a plate of cookies to a school speech in Pennsylvania.

Mr. Kline should know better as the article provides a little bit more detail than the headline :
The legislation would apply to all foods sold in schools during regular class hours, including in the cafeteria line, vending machines and at fundraisers. It wouldn’t apply to after-hours events or concession stands at sports events. Public health groups pushed for the language on fundraisers, which encourages the secretary of Agriculture to allow them only if they are infrequent. The language is broad enough that a president’s administration could even ban bake sales, but Secretary Tom Vilsack signaled in a letter to House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Calif., this week that he does not intend to do that. The USDA has a year to write rules that decide how frequent is infrequent.

But Mr. Kline (see this commentary on MN Political Roundtable) has ignored his own committee hearings that addressed the military concern with obesity and support by fellow Republicans Todd Russell Platts (R-PA) and Dick Lugar (R-IN) for child nuitrion programs.

The problems is real. A November 2010 USDA’s Economics Research Service report showed that 17.4 million households had trouble putting food on the table in 2009. The 17.4 million households experiencing food insecurity make up about 14.7 percent of U.S. households, the highest percentage since the survey was started in 1995.
More than 90 nutrition groups, including includes Feeding America, the network of food banks, and Bread for the World, sent House members letters Nov. 15 urging passage of the bill.
The legislation was approved unanimously by the Senate.

But Mr. Kline said NO to the 32 million children who eat school lunch each day and 12 million children who eat school breakfast. In essence offering the same Out of Touch response as Marie Antoinette is attributed to saying when informed that the people were suffering due to widespread bread shortages ... the Queen is said to have replied “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche” … Let them eat cake.

Mr. Kline stop the culture war … with 15 million Americans unemployed and many more underemployed, the last thing we need is to oppose child nuitrtion programs.