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Rokita Introduces Bill to Reauthorize, Reform Child Nutrition Assistance

Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN), chairman of the Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education, today introduced the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003). The bill will reauthorize and reform federal child nutrition programs to ensure states and schools have the flexibility they need to provide children access to healthy meals without additional or prohibitive costs.
 
“Child nutrition assistance has long played a critical role in the lives of millions of vulnerable children across the country,” Rep. Rokita said. “These programs help deliver healthy meals to kids who need them and, in most cases, wouldn’t have them otherwise. This bill will strengthen our commitment to those in need of nutrition assistance by enhancing program integrity and fighting fraud, waste, and abuse. I want to thank my colleagues for their input and help with developing this commonsense legislation.”
 
“Providing children access to nutritious meals is a priority we all share,” Education and the Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) said. “It’s not enough to say we’re serving vulnerable children and families if we’re not serving them well. For years, schools have struggled to deliver healthy meals under difficult constraints and unrealistic mandates imposed by Washington. The reforms in this legislation will allow states and schools to better serve their students and families, while also ensuring taxpayer dollars are spent effectively and responsibly. I want to commend Rep. Rokita for his long-standing leadership on this important issue.”

BACKGROUND:
A variety of child nutrition programs currently assist states, schools, and other institutions as they serve children and families in need. However, a wave of new federal rules and mandates has imposed restrictions and costs on state and school leaders, making it more difficult to meet the nutritional needs of children and families. In 2010, the Democrat-led Congress vastly expanded the federal role in child nutrition, introducing a host of new regulations that have led to higher costs for schools and fewer students being served.

To strengthen child nutrition assistance for children, families, and taxpayers, Rep. Rokita introduced the Improving Child Nutrition and Education Act of 2016 (H.R. 5003). The legislation:
  • Requires regular review of federal nutrition standards to ensure they are based on sound science, reflect the input of school leaders, and meet the needs of all students.
     
  • Enhances the verification process in order to increase accountability and transparency, and rein in fraud and abuse.
     
  • Improves community eligibility by targeting assistance to those most in need while continuing to provide all eligible students access to healthy meals.
     
  • Provides states more flexibility to serve nutritious meals during the summer, especially to children living in rural and low-income areas.
     
  • Strengthens the integrity and efficiency of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) by supporting a faster transition to electronic benefit transfer.
     
  • Supports nutrition education across programs and helps bring families into schools to engage in the healthy development of their children.
To read a fact sheet on the bill, click here.

To read a more detailed bill summary, click here.

To read the bill, click here.

 

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