Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) — who is running for Sen. Claire McCaskill’s (D-MO) Senate seat — told reporters on Thursday that the federal government should “end its support for school lunch programs,” suggesting that states should fund the effort:
“There’s another good question of who should be doing that,” Akin said during the discussion with reporters. “Is that something the federal government should be doing? I answer it no — why not do it at the state level?” […]
“I am not against school lunches, but I have a question of whether or not the federal government should be doing many things it is doing, and that would be one I would take a look at.”
In 2011, “more than 31.8 million children each day got their lunch through the National School Lunch Program” — a federally assisted meal program that is currently “operating in over 100,000 public and non‐profit private schools and residential child care institutions.” Under the measure, “children from families with incomes at or below 130 percent of the poverty level are eligible for free meals,” while those “with incomes between 130 percent and 185 percent of the poverty level are eligible for reduced‐price meals, for which students can be charged no more than 40 cents.”
The House Agriculture Committee has marked up a “compromise” version of this year’s farm bill — but it includes cuts to food stamps and the school lunch program. According to the Congressional Budget Office, such reductions could knock 280,000 children off of the free school lunch program. The Senate has adopted a farm bill, but the House has yet to move its version to the floor.