Legislative Update: Appropriations, Leadership Selections, Child Nutrition

House Passes Continuing Resolution, Senate Expected to Vote on Omnibus

On Wednesday night, the House passed a year-long continuing resolution (CR) by a vote of 212-206 that would fund all government programs at last year’s levels until the end of the fiscal year (September 30, 2011). All Republican members voted “no,” along with 37 Democrats. The plan had been for the Senate to present an omnibus appropriations bill as a substitute for the House continuing resolution. If the Senate were to get the 60 votes necessary for cloture, the bill will be sent back to the House for consideration. The omnibus bill would contain about $19 billion more in funding than the House CR and would contain congressional earmarks. However, it appears the Senate will not vote on this until next week.

House Select Committee Leadership

The House Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday announced new chairmen and ranking members for the slate of House committees for the 112th Congress. The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee will be Hal Rogers (R-KY), while Norm Dicks (D-WA) will serve as ranking member. As expected, John Kline (R-MN) will chair the House Education and Labor Committee and George Miller (D-CA) will be ranking member.

Child Nutrition Bill Passes Congress

Last week the House passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which passed the Senate in August, and it now heads to the President for his signature. The goal of the bill is to improve children’s health and reduce childhood obesity nationwide by requiring school meals to meet new nutrition standards. The bill also gives the federal government the authority to apply nutritional standards to all food sold during the school day, including in vending machines, a la carte lines and other venues. There has been some concern that the new standards could impact CTE programs that sell student prepared food to raise money for their programs, but the bill does allow for an exemption for school-sponsored fundraisers that are approved by the school and are infrequent within the school.

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