Sen. Blanche Lincoln — office and campaign — is generating a tsunami of news releases on passage today of a child nutrition bill. Unanimous consent. The extra $4.5 billion for school lunches and other programs is paid for, too. I guess it's possible Dr. No Boozman will vote against the legislation in the House, but since Republican leadership permitted aye votes in the Senate, I assume this one has the green light, even for Dr. No.
It's a huge increase in funding, three-fourths for school lunches, and described here as the first increased funding for such programs in 30 years. It might actually produce healthier meals than Tater Tots with a side of nuggets.
It's hard, unglamorous work. Lincoln deserves credit. But .... is there any resonance with the electorate in doing solid, unglamorous work that benefits millions of children? Judging by the reaction to legislation vastly expanding health care for all Americans, you have to be pessimistic.
LINCOLN CAMPAIGN NEWS RELEASE
The Senate just passed Blanche's Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. This is big news, and you helped make it happen.
Blanche's legislation is the largest investment in children's nutrition programs in forty years. It is completely paid for, won't add a single cent to the deficit and received unanimous, bipartisan support in her committee.
That's the kind of leadership Arkansas can count on.
Two weeks ago, this legislation wasn't on the Senate's radar and there were no plans to bring it up for a vote. But Blanche reached out for your help and she did something about it.
She turned up the heat on Senate leaders to make our kids a priority. She took to the Senate floor three times to call on Congress to act, held a bipartisan press conference and made a special appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe to bolster support for the bill. She also penned op-eds for The Huffington Post and Politico encouraging Americans to join her call for Congress to act this week.
That's where you came in. Thousands of you signed her petition urging quick action on child nutrition and today it happened.
Blanche summed it up when she said last week: "Make no mistake, if we fail to pass this, there will be real-world consequences. The statistics aren't just numbers - they represent real children. Real children who come from hardworking families struggling to make ends meet. Real children who struggle with obesity and will continue to deal with long-term health consequences throughout their life. The time to act is now."
The Senate acted today on one of the most important programs in our country and it's all because of you and Blanche Lincoln.