* Mr. BACA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today during National School Lunch Week to express my appreciation to the thousands of people in the great state of California who work tirelessly to ensure that children are fed nutritious meals in school.
* During times of limited resources, these professionals are working to provide high quality meals to all students.
* I applaud Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack for the USDA's efforts to improve child nutrition programs.
* Yet I also wish to express my concerns regarding the recently proposed regulations for school meal standards.
* I fear the proposed regulations will increase costs to hard-pressed school districts beyond what can reasonably be managed.
* The result may be that schools will reduce access to nutritious meals because they simply can't afford to provide them.
* Of equal concern is the great number of unknowns about the impacts of the proposal--including how it will impact school meal costs, participation, and access.
* I urge the Secretary to take this into consideration and allow flexibility during this regulatory process.
* We must all closely monitor the progress made by schools, and the effectiveness of the new rules on the health and well-being of America's children moving forward.