Washington, D.C. – Senator Johnson (WI) today announced that he is a cosponsor of an amendment sponsored by Senator Susan Collins (ME) to protect Wisconsin farmers and maintain the authority of local school officials to make decisions about school lunch menus. The amendment passed the Senate on a voice vote this evening. Johnson stated:
“This proposed regulation could do significant damage to Wisconsin’s farm sector. Tens of thousands of jobs depend on potato growing – farmers, truckers, processors, and others. It would be a serious mistake for the Obama Administration to push through a regulation like this one – which is not only unnecessary, but would hurt the state’s economy as well.
The Department of Agriculture should not be dictating to America’s schools and school districts the contents of their daily menus. I think we can trust local districts, and state Departments of Education, to make those decisions. If the Administration believes that bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. care more about nutrition for our students than principals and school boards, they ought to explain why. This new regulation will cost school districts $6.8 billion over the next five years. If the President is concerned that strapped districts are being forced to lay off staff to make ends meet, cancelling this costly and misguided regulation would be a good place to start.”
"In addition to harming Wisconsin’s economy, the proposed USDA rule is not supported by science. The 2010 USDA dietary guidelines recommend that students eat more – not less – starchy vegetables. Additionally, eighty percent of the potatoes served in schools are already baked, boiled, or mashed – as just 11 percent of American school districts have fryers.