Senate Ag Committee to tackle expiring reauthorization bills

Child nutrition reauthorization bill gets postponed but Mandatory Price Reporting and U.S. Grain Standards Act to get marked up.

The Senate Agriculture Committee gets back to business this week with plans to markup legislation Thursday morning to reauthorize Mandatory Price Reporting for livestock, the U.S. Grains Standards Act and the National Forest Foundation Act.

The programs expire Sept. 30 and the House has already passed each of their respective bills. “In past Congresses, important programs were often left to expire. Our Committee has done the work, and we are fulfilling our responsibilities to reauthorize these programs on time,” said chairman Pat Roberts (R., Kan.).

Previously the committee was set to markup child nutrition reauthorization legislation. However, in a release from Roberts he said the committee was awaiting scores on provisions of the proposed legislation from the Congressional Budget Office and “will reschedule the markup soon.”

 “I am continuing negotiations with ranking member [Debbie] Stabenow to get a bipartisan, budget-neutral agreement to move forward with child nutrition reauthorization. We’re nearly at the finish line,” Roberts said.

“My goals remain the same – craft a reauthorization package that is bipartisan, increases efficiency and effectiveness, has flexibility so all schools may achieve success‎ in their meal programs, and addresses program integrity, high error rates, and improper payments within the programs.”

In the past several weeks, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack has been drumming up support for a five-year reauthorization that doesn’t take a step back from improvements made in the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act. Vilsack said he would like to see an expansion of school breakfast and summer-meal options for children who need it.

Several Republican lawmakers have called for changes in the whole grain and less sodium school lunch requirements.

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