GOP senator considering blocking school meal funding deal over transgender policy fight – By Meredith Lee (Politico) / June 22, 2022
The Senate is attempting to expedite a vote on the school meals funding extension, but several Republicans are threatening to block it before the June 30 expiration.
A Republican senator is thinking about blowing up a bipartisan deal to extend school meals funding because of a Biden administration policy banning discrimination against LGBTQ students who participate in lunch programs that receive the money.
Democratic leaders are rushing to pass the legislation and get it to President Joe Biden’s desk before current funding runs out June 30, triggering a hunger cliff for millions of children. Senate Republican leaders, who blocked previous attempts at a year-long extension of the funds, haven’t made any threats to tank the bill this time around, according to three people involved in the talks. But any one senator can object and block the expedited effort, requiring a recorded floor vote and eating up precious time.
After the $3 billion deal to extend the pandemic-era program was unveiled Tuesday, Sen. Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) said in an interview he is “contemplating” objecting to the measure because of new guidance from the Agriculture Department banning LGBTQ discrimination in any program that receives federal nutrition money, which includes most school lunch programs.
Marshall was among a handful of Senate Republicans who sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office last week objecting to the USDA nutrition guidance, which has also prompted a backlash from conservative media and key national Republicans. Likely 2024 presidential contender and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis argued the Biden administration was “trying to deny school lunch programs for states that don’t do transgender ideology in the schools.”