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Wanted to pass on an editorial that ran today in the New York Times on healthier school meals and food safety that might be of interest. As you may know, the Administration is hoping for action in the lame duck session.
November 15, 2010
Two Easy Moves for the Lame Duck
The lame-duck Congress has a lot of work to do, including wrestling with the Bush-era tax cuts, repealing the Pentagon’s discriminatory “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, and ratifying the New Start arms reduction treaty. It also needs to approve two food-related measures that are badly needed to protect the nation’s health. The good news is that a version of each has already passed one chamber, and both have strong bipartisan support.
The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would reduce childhood obesity by getting junk foods out of the schools and providing an additional $4.5 billion over the next decade for child nutrition, including healthier school meals. Before the election, more than 100 House Democrats objected to paying for that progress partly by cutting a future rise in food stamp benefits.
We understand their concern. But President Obama has pledged to try to find replacement food stamp financing before the cutbacks go into effect in 2013. This is good legislation, and the House needs to act.
The Senate needs to approve a House food safety bill that would significantly strengthen the Food and Drug Administration’s ability to combat food-borne illnesses, including giving it the authority to recall contaminated products and other tools to prevent contaminated foods from reaching the marketplace in the first place.
This bill has strong bipartisan support. But a few senators, led by Jon Tester, a Democrat of Montana, appear determined to tack on an amendment exempting from safety standards a significant number of produce items and processed foods. That would weaken the F.D.A.’s ability to protect Americans’ health. The Senate needs to approve the bill without this amendment.
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