04.10.19

Chairman Roberts Hears Stakeholder, Participant Perspectives Ahead of Child Nutrition Reauthorization

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the Committee prepares to reauthorize federal child nutrition programs, U.S. Senator Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, today held a hearing titled, “Perspectives on Child Nutrition Reauthorization.”

“This hearing examines child nutrition programs, which have consistently benefited from broad, bipartisan support. The Committee looks forward to that continuing today as we hear perspectives on Child Nutrition Reauthorization,” said Chairman Roberts.

“I have visited many Kansas schools as there are close to 300 school districts in Kansas. Considering how many districts there are in the United States, and how different each district is, it is clear that a one-size fits all approach will not work for everyone.”

To watch the hearing and read testimony, click here.

Click here to watch Chairman Roberts’ opening statement. Below are Chairman Roberts’ remarks as prepared for delivery:

I call this hearing of the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry to order.   

This hearing examines child nutrition programs, which have consistently benefited from broad, bipartisan support. The Committee looks forward to that continuing today as we hear perspectives on Child Nutrition Reauthorization.

I remind everybody that the last child nutrition reauthorization was completed in 2010. So, it is again necessary to take a fresh look to find ways to provide certainty, to reduce administrative redundancies, and allow flexibility at the local level to better serve participants and stakeholders.

School food service directors are constantly stretching every dollar to provide nutritious, affordable meals to their students.

And, they are finding creative new ways to prepare foods in a manner so that students will eat them. Ever-changing rules and reporting makes this far more difficult.

I have visited many Kansas schools as there are close to 300 school districts in Kansas. Considering how many districts there are in the United States, and how different each district is, it is clear that a one-size fits all approach will not work for everyone. 

The same is true for non-profit and charitable organizations, and of course, for the participants—the children, the students, the mothers and families who use these programs. 

This includes: the National School Lunch Program, the National School Breakfast Program, the Summer Food Service Program, the Child and Adult Care Food Program, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—commonly referred to as WIC.

There is also the Special Milk Program, the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the Farm to School Program, and other programs that are part of this process.

Combined, these programs account for $30 billion in annual mandatory and discretionary spending. So, it is important for us—meaning Congress and more directly this Committee—to review how these programs are working.

Today, we will hear from the Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service about how they are managing these programs. To that end, it is ordered that this letter and attachment on program integrity and related issues from the Department's Deputy Secretary Stephen Censky dated June 20, 2018 be included in the Committee record of today’s hearing.

We will also hear from the Government Accountability Office about how USDA is administering these programs.

On our second panel, we will be hearing from those who are operating and implementing these programs at the ground-level.

There is a pathway for child nutrition programs to be reauthorized in a bipartisan manner yet this year.

Today’s hearing is the first step in this process. 

I now turn to Ranking Member Stabenow for any opening remarks she may have at this time. 

Senator Stabenow, please proceed.   

-30-

Press Contact

Meghan Cline