GOP senator plans to block school lunch funding deal over fight against transgender politics

Marshall was among a handful of Senate Republicans who sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office last week opposing USDA nutrition guidelines, which also drew a backlash from conservative media and of the leading National Republicans. Likely 2024 presidential candidate and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has argued that the Biden administration is “trying to deny school lunch programs to states that don’t practice transgender ideology in schools.”

Republicans are particularly concerned about the language in the USDA guidelines that programs that receive federal nutrition money must state their anti-LGBTQ discrimination policies.

Marshall said in the interview that he hasn’t decided whether to accept the objection. But he claimed the administration was “trying to use the school lunch problem to gain leverage over [schools’ broader LGBTQ policies].”

“I’m just worried that schools in Kansas won’t have school lunches because of this administration’s hardline take on transgender issues,” Marshall said. “And I’m afraid they’re raiding the school meals program because of this issue.”

The USDA guidelines, however, only target programs that receive federal money for nutrition, not other aspects of school policy that may affect LGBTQ students. A USDA official stressed that the administration would not withdraw funding from a school lunch program simply because the state has restrictive laws regarding sports or restroom access for transgender children, or because that a school does not have an LGBTQ policy. Instead, individuals could only file complaints if they had been discriminated against by the specific school meals program based on gender identity – for example, if they were denied food because they were transgender.

According to three Republican Senate aides, a handful of other Republican senators have yet to approve suspensions allowing the school lunch funding deal as an expedited measure, but not above LGBTQ guidelines. This list includes Sens. mike brown from Indiana and Rand Paul from Kentucky. Paul frequently delays efforts to expedite finance bills.

A spokesperson for Paul said his office is still reviewing the bill, but would not say whether he ultimately plans to oppose it. Braun wanted to make sure he had time to read the bill, but likely has no major issues with the text, according to his spokesperson.

Top Republican responsible for school lunch funding, senator. John Boozman of Arkansas, said he had not spoken to any Republicans who had pledged to oppose the measure, but said he would look into Marshall’s concerns. When asked if he was asking anything from the administration in exchange for passing the measure, Marshall replied, “No. I don’t have permission to cook.

“I don’t know if we’ll have any objections or not,” Boozman said in an interview. “But I think whatever it is, those are things we can work on and just explain what we’re trying to do.”

Hunger advocates say funding school meals has prevented the worst of the expected increase in child food insecurity during the Covid-19 pandemic. And they warn that the loss of funding from July would sharply increase hunger for millions of children.

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