First Lady Takes on GOP Over Healthy School Lunch Policy

By: CNN
By: CNN

First Lady Michelle Obama is going after House republicans for considering changes to the nation's healthy school lunch policy. She's been a major force behind getting children to eat better, but many GOP members say schools are struggling to keep up.

"It's unacceptable to me not just as first lady but as a mother."

Fighting words from the First Lady sending a message to House republicans who want to relax school nutrition standards she fought for four years ago.

"The last thing we can afford to do right now is to play politics with our kids health, especially when we're finally starting to see some progress on this issue."

It's part of a rare political push by Mrs. Obama to battle a bill that would give schools facing financial problems an extra year to comply with rules to limit fat and sodium and encourage more fruits and vegetables in school meals.

The mom-in-chief is known for her Let's Move Campaign against childhood obesity, her White House garden and her focus on health eating, but she hasn't waded into the political fights at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue until now.

"Parents have a right to expect their kids will get decent food in our schools, and we all have a right to expect that our hard-earned taxpayer dollars won't be spent on junk food for our kids," she said.

Supporters of the legislation say some school districts are struggling to find cheap, healthy options and need more time to make sure kids will eat the healthier foods, not just throw them away.

"We're not saying let's put junk food back on the serving line," said Julia Bauscher, President-Elect of the School Nutrition Association. "For most districts that hasn't been part of the school meal in many, many years. But we want to make sure that students are comfortable with these changes and are willing to take what's offered to them and will find it acceptable and enjoyable."

The House Appropriations Committee announced last week it plans to let cash-strapped schools opt out of the nutrition regulations via a waiver. If approved, the change would come through the 2015 agriculture spending bill.


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