Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today issued the following statement regarding the House Committee on Education and Labor's mark-up of H.R. 5504, "The Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act:"
"I applaud the commitment of Chairman Miller, Ranking Member Kline, Congresswoman McCarthy and Congressman Platts to ensuring that our children have access to healthy, nutritious meals. Through the work of the Chairman and the membership of the House Committee on Education and Labor to reauthorize and reform the Child Nutrition Act, today's bipartisan passage of the Improving Nutrition for America's Children Act (H.R. 5504) demonstrates a commitment to reduce hunger, improve the health of our children and support their academic achievement. The House legislation complements the Senate's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act recently reported out of Committee. Both bills advance the Administration's priorities to improve meal quality, strengthen nutrition standards for school meals, reduce barriers and increase access to healthy school meals, promote nutrition education, establish standards for competitive foods, and provide food to needy children during gap periods when the regular nutrition assistance programs are not in operation. Today's action is a very positive step forward and I congratulate the House Committee on Education and Labor for its constructive, bipartisan work. I urge Congress to continue making enactment of Child Nutrition Reauthorization legislation a priority this year. This is a bill that will improve the health and nutrition of America's children - a top concern of moms and dads throughout the country. I urge Congress to finish this process by the time kids head back to school this fall."