May 27th, 2014
03:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Michelle Obama to Congress: 'This is unacceptable'

(CNN) - First Lady Michelle Obama argued Tuesday that it's "unacceptable" for House Republicans to consider making major changes to the 2010 child nutrition law - a hallmark of her "Let's Move" campaign against childhood obesity.

"The last thing we can afford to do right now is play politics with our kids' health," she said. "Now is not the time to roll back everything that we have worked for. Our kids deserve so much better than that."

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The first lady made her remarks at the White House before meeting with school leaders and experts on child nutrition.

Her comments represented a rare moment for the first lady, who stays far away from public disputes with Congress.

She urged attendees at the meeting to hold Washington accountable and "let them know that we're going to follow what's going on here."

The House Appropriations Committee announced last week it plans to let cash-strapped schools opt out of the nutrition regulations via waiver. The change would come through the 2015 agriculture spending bill.

Signed into law in 2010, the nutrition bill established new requirements for the country's free or reduced-price lunch program. More than 30 million children qualify for the federally subsidized meals.

New standards included a reduction in sodium and a requirement that each student choose one fruit or vegetable in order to get the meal for free.

The law increased the reimbursement rate for school lunches as a way to help offset the higher cost of including more produce products.

Critics, however, say schools are struggling to keep up with the new rules.

"We've experienced a lot more food waste," Julia Bauscher, president-elect of the School Nutrition Association, said Tuesday on CNN's "Newsroom."

"Students will pick up what they're supposed to have at the end of the line and then immediately throw it in the garbage," she said, describing trash cans full of oranges and apples.

Bauscher said they're not advocating for a return of junk food to the school lunch line-just looser requirements on vegetables and fruits.

"We just don't want them to have to take it if they don't intend to consume it," she added.

Saying that one in three kids are obese, the first lady emphasized that "folks in Washington should be on our side."

"Moms and dads don't want their efforts undermined when they send their kids off to school," she added.

Filed under: Congress • Michelle Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Malory Archer

    Michelle please stay away from our kids. the boys are going hungry, especially the ones who have athletics after school. It is not enough food and it is insulting. Please just go away from school lunches.


    Nobody's FORCING them to eat the school lunches. They or their parents could pack their own lunches to ensure they're getting enough to eat. Kids always complain about how awful school lunches are anyways, and didn't paul ryan state a few months ago that bringing a bagged lunch mean that they have parents who love them?

    May 27, 2014 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. The Real Tom Paine

    @ smith, and are those 12,000 murders acceptable by any standard? Please let us know what is the threshold we have to hit in order to get your support. With any luck, it won't be long, so can we count on your support, or is it too much of an inconvenience for you to admit you are dismissing those lives as somehow inconsequential?

    May 27, 2014 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  3. The Real Tom Paine

    With regards to nutrition, it really does fall on the parents. The schools are once again being asked to parent for people who are either unable or unwilling to teach their children good habits. What is really amusing are the veiled threats from self-described chefs and educators on here who seem to resent a First Lady who is trying to champion good choices, and hits at darker agendas. Lighten up, people.

    May 27, 2014 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  4. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    This FLOTUS is treated with so much disdain that it's sickening. To see her being called Moochelle really gets to me. But if I remember correctly the former FL was larger than she.

    May 27, 2014 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  5. A parent responds.

    Yes, it is true that the students will throw it away. It should not be required. But, the lunches have been changed to healthier food. The students must eat something nutritious or go hungry. My child complains because he must eat his vegetables to feel full.
    I am overjoyed with this fact. He is eating healthy food at school and not items full of fat and starch. It gives him more energy and provides him with vitamins. This is why the school lunch program was implemented in the first place. During one of the World Wars when they begin drafting men of fighting age and found many had grown up malnourished and that is not the type of fighting force needed by our military. How can you not give Michelle Obama credit where credit is due for forcing food full of empty calories out of the lunch program.

    Next, I remember when school lunches were made by each school cafeteria and they bought local produce, made everything from scratch and it was delicious. The local produce procurement boosted the local economy and the food was much fresher, thereby containing more vitamins. We should go back to some of the old ways. They worked much better.

    At one time there were no soda machines in schools. Students drank water. Water has 0 calories. Then someone decided to make money by implementing soda and candy machines in the school. I appreciate the fact that the machines were removed. The students would buy a coke and a candy bar or a bag of chips everyday with their lunch money.
    Empty calories and no nutritional value. It made the kids fat. They seem to be slimming down now because the snacks are not available and the lunches have less fat and sugar in them. Fewer children will develop diabetes and weigh less overall because of the change in the school lunch policy. Why I wonder are you slamming someone making the world better in this respect. Give her her due for this one. I do not agree with everything she has done, but my child has benefited from this policy.

    A parent.

    May 27, 2014 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. You Got It

    Get that ugly Amazon back behind the camera, please.........and also kindly ask her to stop meddling in government affairs when she wasn't elected to anything – she's the wife of the President. Nothing more.......

    May 27, 2014 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. smith

    @The Real Tom P- First, I blame the killer not the gun, the NRA, gun manufacturers, or anybody else. Second, over 5,000 non-gun murders take place each year yet you only speak out against the 12,000 that are murdered with firearms. Why? Last, Im against all violence not just the ones involving guns.

    May 27, 2014 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    "First, I blame the killer not the gun, "

    And, right there is all the indication we need that you're not willing to have a serious, adult conversation about it. Nobody is blaming the gun. NOBODY. Your and the gun-fetishists' insistence on pretending people are in order to set up straw man arguments and give yourself an excuse to vomit trite, pithy "folks wisdom" bumper-sticker dismissals of the issue and any solutions that don't involve more guns being sold is all the evidence we need that you have nothing sensible to add to the discussion.

    May 27, 2014 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. Sniffit

    "@Sniffit-32,000 victims of gun violence? Red Herring Alert! DOJ has it under 12,000 for gun related murders and 18,000 for gun related suicides. Suicide and murder are two totally different things.

    So you're just going to ignore all the gun violence that doesn't result in a death? There's a reason I use "gun violence" or "gun related crime." Every single incident of gun violence that doesn't result in a death, but only a maiming or whatever, is a god-mn miracle and pretending like those incidents don't "count" in the analysis is just dishonest.

    Over 100,000 people are shot every year if you include accidents and "whoops, I guess it was a bad idea to leave my kids' Crikket loaded...guess we'll have to make him a new baby sister since the old one got a hole in it."

    May 27, 2014 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  10. smith

    @Malory-We found something we agree on. 🙂

    May 27, 2014 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Sue

    I don't like green beans, i never have and i never will. Yes, my parents tried to make me eat them too, but i didn't – I don't care if they are supposedly 'healthy' for you, I will not eat them. it is no ones 'fault' – i just don't like them. Isn't there some kind of food that you don't like and just won't eat? I know of course there is. Who says what 'healthy food' is anyway?? I grew up on a dairy farm and we eat all kinds of meats, veggies and breads, and ice cream!! We use real butter and cream!! Who has the right to try and tell me what to eat?? We are all individuals, we are not cut of the same cloth. You may eat green beans, but I don't, that is how God made us – all unique. Leave the kids alone already!

    May 27, 2014 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. anniebella

    I'm on the First Lady side. I have seen the effects of unhealthy food on our kids. Kids have always throw away food, they did when I was in school many years ago.

    May 27, 2014 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  13. smith

    @Sniffit-There you go pasting and cutting my comments. I said I blame the killer not the gun, the NRA, gun manfacturers or anybody else. I`ll ask you the same question, why do you hoot and hollar over gun related murders but stay silent about all the murders committed without firearms?

    May 27, 2014 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. Rick McDaniel

    There is absolutely zero justification for 10 percent of the country's population to need free lunch. This is simply more, and more subsidizing of kids, for deadbeat parents.

    May 27, 2014 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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