Food Safety and Child Hunger: Acceptable Political Tools?

sandwich food safetyI thought I heard a parental "huzzah" go up across the country this week when the Senate passed a sweeping food safety bill that President Obama is expected to sign into law shortly. Over the last year, there have been increasing numbers of frightening news reports about children becoming sick after eating tainted spinach or bad burgers, as well as allegations of food buyers taking bribes to get moldy or otherwise defective food into our supermarkets. 

It's been something of a scary time to be the one doing the family food shopping. So fingers crossed that some additional authority for the FDA will mean safer food for our families.

But what good is food safety if there are still tens of thousands of children who go hungry every day in America?


Congress took a big step to change that as well, by passing in this lame duck session the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act -- a law that will provide increased school breakfast programs for poor children, require more nutritional food in school lunches, and make the summer food program stronger so fewer American children would go hungry when school is out of session.

The cost? $4.5 billion dollars. Certainly not chump change. But in my mind, that's money much better spent than the $700 billion of unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy that the GOP leadership is insisting on that will crank our country's deficit even further into the stratosphere.

But I'm troubled by the back story on these soon-to-be laws -- the GOP tried to block both with procedural tactics and tricks. They are so focused on getting rid of President Obama at any cost that they are willing to block every bill sponsored by the Democrats, even if it means doing it on the backs of our children.

The Republican leadership has made no secret of the fact that their sole mission over the next two years is to make sure Barack Obama and George H.W. Bush share the same footnote in history -- that they were one-term presidents.

I just want to know how the likes of John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Eric Cantor can sleep at night knowing that they've even attempted to make hungry kids and children sickened by bad food the new political pawns in their game for power.


Image via marnanel/Flickr

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