No matter what side of the fence you’re on, no matter your political affiliation, your “principles and values,” your favorite candidate, or your overall beliefs on life itself, I feel that one thing should be absolutely universal across the board — innocent children deserve to eat. Full stop. No discussion. No argument. No points or counterpoints to be made. There’s nothing to talk about. I don’t care if their parents don’t work. I don’t care if they “live off the government.” I don’t care if they’re on drugs, or gay, or straight, or single, or married, or rich, or poor, or anything in between. Precisely NONE of that is the fault or problem of an innocent child, and precisely NONE of that bears any weight, whatsoever, on whether or not that innocent child deserves access to food to eat.
But yet somehow, someway, here was are in 2022, and this is something we apparently still have to talk about. Something we still have to argue and fight for. The mere concept of giving food to innocent children, regardless of their (or their parents’) ability to pay for it.
And guess who’s apparently leading the helm on the side of “forceful opposition” to feeding children? None other than Mitch fucking McConnell.
The US government put waivers in place through the pandemic to allow schools the flexibility to offer universal free lunches to students. Now, those waivers are set to expire soon and a hoard of Senate Republicans, led by Mitch McConnell, are reportedly doing everything in their power to stonewall the extension of these waivers and essentially, potentially take food away from innocent children who would not otherwise be able to afford it.
Today, POLITICO reported that McConnell is “forcefully opposing” the provision that would allow the extension of the school lunch waiver program that’s part of an overall government funding package that must be passed by Congress before midnight to avoid a government shutdown.
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Charles Booker, a Kentucky Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, responded to the Senate Minority Leader’s opposition to the waiver, writing, “Mitch McConnell never needed free lunch to get a hot meal at school. He never needed food stamps to survive. Nearly half of Kentucky’s children live in households below 200% of the federal poverty line. I was one of them. He doesn’t see us.”
Progressive Ohio congressional candidate, Nina Turner simply stated of McConnell’s stonewalling, “This is evil.”
This is evil. Evil. https://t.co/vFPxSi9sEG
— Nina Turner (@ninaturner) March 8, 2022
Twitter as a whole did not react well:
imagine becoming powerful and you decide to use it to stop kids from getting lunch
— Dan Price (@DanPriceSeattle) March 8, 2022
What kind of fresh hell https://t.co/0Y7wxLRsPT
— 🌻Kim (@kim) March 8, 2022
— Joey B 🦄🧚🏽♂️🐨 (@joeytheeunicorn) March 8, 2022
Meanwhile, in Ukraine, citizens are feeding Russian soldiers. pic.twitter.com/6S39PjhiQe
— Ashleigh London (@ashleighlondon) March 8, 2022
How evil do you have to be to be against feeding children?
— Kenneth King (@kkingjr17) March 7, 2022
We will force you to have babies but we don’t want to feed them.
— mike (@mjkemp3) March 7, 2022
Vince Hall, Feeding America’s chief government relations officer, said:
As it stands, schools and communities are in a state of limbo. As they work to provide food for children daily, they need continued flexibilities to safely plan for and offer summer meal programs and nutrition assistance during the next school year. Congress can and should provide these schools and community providers with peace of mind by extending waiver authority in upcoming legislation.
For millions of school children whose lives and educations have been impacted by the pandemic, school meals are often their only reliable nutrition source. These waivers offer stability, predictability, and an assurance that children will get the meals they need any time of the year.”
Tom Vilsack, the head of the USDA, told the Washington Post in an interview that “the failure of Republicans to respond to this means that kids are going to have less on their plates.”
“And there’s no reason for this.”