Federal Budget: How does it affect school lunches?
October 1, 2015
Last night Congress passed a clean Continuing Resolution which avoided a government shutdown and funds the government through December 11th, 2015. Since this was “clean”, meaning that there were no riders or changes to current policy, government programs will continue to be funded at the same level they were the previous year. No new budget was passed—this really just kicks the can for the mega negotiations around the budget forward a few months.
What Congress did not do though was pass or extend the Child Nutrition Act, which funds the school lunch and breakfast program, WIC and other child nutrition programs. Although technically the Child Nutrition Act expires today, there is no need to panic. Almost all of the programs, including school lunches, have enough money to continue to operate with no changes for the next few months. Hopefully by that time Child Nutrition Reauthorization will be under way, and the Senate and House Agriculture Committees will have reached an agreement on a bill. Again, the can has been kicked down the road a bit.
Of concern at this time is what will happen in December both around the budget and Child Nutrition Reauthorization. Will a giant deal be reached on both together? Will they be dealt with separately? Will the two political parties and the White House be able to reach an agreement so the government doesn’t shutdown right before the holidays? Honestly, only time will tell and the next few months will be very important in terms of advocacy from moms and negotiations among House and Senate leadership. We will do our best to keep you informed. In the meantime, you can sign on to our letter to Congress on the Child Nutrition Reauthorization.