AP

It's a proposal to help feed low-income kids when school's out, but only rural districts would be able to participate.

A proposed pilot program designed to provide lunches to low-income children when school isn't in session will only be available to "rural," and not "urban" American children, according to a Politico report on the GOP-led House agricultural budget bill. The strange omission, spotted by Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall (and also by MSNBC), pertains to the Obama administration's request for funding to extend a demonstration program that feeds kids when school's out.

Here's the relevant Politico passage, which Marshall notes carries "a degree of understatement":

in a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year to continue a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.

Since 2010, the program has operated from an initial appropriation of $85 million, and the goal has been to test alternative approaches to distribute aid when schools are not in session. The White House asked for an additional $30 million to continue the effort, but the House bill provides $27 million for what’s described as an entirely new pilot program focused on rural areas only.

Democrats were surprised to see urban children were excluded. And the GOP had some trouble explaining the history itself. But a spokeswoman confirmed that the intent of the bill is a pilot project in “rural areas” only.

The program in question was initiated in the 2010 appropriations bill, as a demonstration program that placed no limitations on the type of community eligible for that funding, urban or rural. But the proposed House GOP bill adds a line: "$27,000,000 shall remain available until expended to carry out section 749(g) of the Agriculture  Appropriations Act of 2010 (Public Law 111–80) in rural counties designated in 40 U.S.C. 14102."  Hmm. 

The exclusion of "urban" children from the pilot program isn't the only part of the bill that's raising eyebrows this week. The bill would also allow schools to opt-out of the healthier school lunch programs recently rolled out across the country. And, the bill would make it easier (after a lengthy lobbying campaign from the potato industry) for the white potato to make its way back onto WIC nutritional guidelines for low-income children and pregnant women. 

This post originally appeared on The Wire. More from our partner site:

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  2. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  3. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  4. New Yorkers riding the subway.
    Transportation

    The Great Divide in How Americans Commute to Work

    We are cleaving into two nations—one where daily life revolves around the car, and the other where the car is receding in favor of walking, biking, and transit.

  5. a photo of a child drawing an anti-Amazon protest sign at the Climate Strike march in San Francisco.
    Environment

    Why Climate Strike Protesters Targeted Amazon Go

    Amazon’s automated convenience store became a meeting point—physically and philosophically—for climate and labor protesters on Friday.

×