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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

Is pizza a vegetable?

2011 December 08

By Alex Hernandez, Intern, University of Texas-Austin Office 

A bill that would prevent new standards for school lunches from going into effect has sparked intense debate among legislators, nutrition advocates, and parents. A provision in HR 2112, “Appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development and the Food and Drug Administration,” would essentially nullify new standards for school lunches proposed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Those new standards included: limitations on the quantity and type of potatoes served (specifically French fries), reduced target levels for sodium consumption, an increase in the amount of tomato paste required for the paste to be considered a serving of vegetables, and the introduction of more whole grains into the daily school lunch menu. Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee said that the changes would "prevent overly burdensome and costly regulations and ...provide greater flexibility for local school districts to improve the nutritional quality of meals."

However, Representative Dennis Kucinich, who voted “Nay” on the bill, disagreed with this rationale. He noted that the language in the bill would allow a serving of pizza, if it contains at least two tablespoons of tomato paste, to be classified as a serving of vegetables.  Rep. Kucinich argued that “The needs of special interest groups are being put ahead of the health needs of children across the country. By including these provisions, we are allowing the salt, potato growers and frozen food industries to continue ...

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Tags: blog, Maine, Ohio

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Research intern Julie Bissinger takes a closer look at what the 2012 presidential candidates have said recently on the issue of immigration.

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2011 November 22

The U.S. Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was established with the goal of improving both the short and long term financial outlook of the US and reducing the deficit “...by at least $1,500,000,000 over the period of fiscal years 2012 to 2021” But they missed their deadline...

Help us expand our legislative research

2011 November 21

Our Legislative Research Department’s primary responsibility of tracking legislation at the state and federal levels has been so well-received that we are thinking about expanding to other areas that might be useful to voters, but we need your input.

Why I volunteer

2011 November 17

Voters aren’t stupid; they know that political ads are emotionally deceptive, and they hunger for real facts. Project Vote Smart can help. Why do I volunteer here? Because it matters.

Health care: What are the candidates saying?

2011 November 14

Research intern Julie Bissinger takes a closer look at what the 2012 presidential candidates have said recently on the issue of health care.

Find your Political Soulmate with VoteEasy

2011 November 04

With the presidential election exactly one year away, Project Vote Smart has launched VoteEasy (winner of the best there is at the 2011 Webvisionary Awards), the interactive tool for voters to instantly see which presidential candidate they are most compatible with. To use VoteEasy now visit www.votesmart.org.