SEDALIA — Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin today said the federal government should end its support for school lunch programs, a major item of spending under the farm bill pending before Congress.
“There’s another good question of who should be doing that,” Akin said during the discussion with reporters. “Is that something the federal government should be doing? I answer it no — why not do it at the state level?”
Akin has never voted for a farm bill during his tenure in office and does not support this year’s Senate version, which has already passed with support from McCaskill and U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo. Akin said he is waiting for the House version, which has not been sent to the floor yet, before deciding how he will vote in that body.
“The problem with the Senate farm bill is the fact that you’ve got 80 percent of it that isn’t a farm bill at all,” Akin said.
Along with crop and livestock programs, the bill also reauthorizes support for school nutrition and the food-stamp program that provides help to poor families.
Schools receive support through the distribution of surplus commodities as well as financial support to help defray the costs for poorer children. Most of the spending in the bill is for food stamps and other nutrition support programs.
To make sure they understood Akin’s position, reporters asked him again about school lunches. “I am not against school lunches, but I have a question of whether or not the federal government should be doing many things it is doing, and that would be one I would take a look at.”
Taking away school lunch aid is not the way to balance the federal budget, McCaskill said. “The notion that the federal government should stop giving support to help feed children is a nonstarter with me. It is not like our schools are sitting on piles of cash right now.”