It seems that even though our Congress may shy away from daunting tasks like helping people stay in their houses, have a job that pays for more than the gas it takes to get back and forth to it, and not starve to death in the cold after they retire because they're too ill to keep working, they're not afraid to stand up to the powerful broccoli lobby.
In an effort many 9-year-olds will cheer, Congress wants pizza and french fries to stay on school lunch lines and is fighting the Obama administration’s efforts to take unhealthy foods out of schools. The bill also would allow tomato paste on pizzas to be counted as a vegetable."Hey, come on," said one Republican Legislator. "Most of the kids are already fat by the time they get to school. What are we supposed to do? Change their minds? Look. If they're smart enough to evaluate the arguments for creationism and evolution, they're smart enough to decide what to eat."
USDA spokeswoman Courtney Rowe said Tuesday that the department will continue its efforts to make lunches healthier. “While it’s unfortunate that some members of Congress continue to put special interests ahead of the health of America’s children, USDA remains committed to practical, science-based standards for school meals,” she said in a statement."Wait. Isn't that what we're supposed to be doing?" Asked one republican legislative aide who asked not to be named. "I thought we were supposed to put special interests ahead of everything. Well, everything except special interests with bigger bank accounts."
Nutrition advocate Margo Wootan of the Center for Science in the Public Interest said “They are making sure that two of the biggest problems in the school lunch program, pizza and french fries, are untouched.”"That's not true at all," said a republican member of the Agriculture committee who Tweeted his comments from the drive through at Wendy's. "It's not about leaving pizza and fries untouched. It's about making sure none of those nancy-boy dishes get in. Parents! Do you really want your kid eating a salad for lunch? A salad! No wonder there's bullying in school."
A group of retired generals advocating for healthier school lunches also criticized the spending bill. The group, called Mission: Readiness, has called poor nutrition in school lunches a national security issue because obesity is the leading medical disqualifier for military service."Oh I hear that," said presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. Do you know how hard it was for me to get out of serving in Viet Nam? If all I had to do was be fat it would have made things a whole lot easier."
“This agreement ensures that nutrient-rich vegetables such as potatoes, corn and peas will remain part of a balanced, healthy diet in federally funded school meals and recognizes the significant amounts of potassium, fiber and vitamins A and C provided by tomato paste, ensuring that students may continue to enjoy healthy meals such as pizza and pasta,” said Kraig Naasz, president of the American Frozen Food Institute."And not only that, but when you take into account the fat, the salt, the empty calories, the sugar, well, you're looking at solving the social security funding crisis because most of these kids will be long dead before they get to 65. Win win, no?" Naasz added.
*Oh yes we do.