The Senate passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act on Thursday, a bill that provides an additional $4.5 billion over 10 years to federal child nutrition programs including school lunch. If signed into law, it will be the first time that the federal government has increased funding for the programs in 30 years.
The bill was bipartisan and fully paid for. But advocates, led by Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), had battled to find time for a vote in an intensely busy legislative period. On Monday, Michelle Obama, a strong proponent of school lunch reform, called for the Senate to act in an op-ed in The Washington Post. In the end, the bill was passed through a process known as unanimous consent, where all 100 senators agreed to pass the bill without a voice vote.
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