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Boy takes a meal at school

House Republicans are using the agriculture and food safety budget as another place to set off a fireworks display of their messed-up values. Not only does the bill push white potatoes for pregnant women and small children, Josh Marshall flags a real stunner:

And in a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year to continue a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.

Since 2010, the program has operated from an initial appropriation of $85 million, and the goal has been to test alternative approaches to distribute aid when schools are not in session. The White House asked for an additional $30 million to continue the effort, but the House bill provides $27 million for what’s described as an entirely new pilot program focused on rural areas only.

Democrats were surprised to see urban children were excluded. And the GOP had some trouble explaining the history itself. But a spokeswoman confirmed that the intent of the bill is a pilot project in “rural areas” only.

Distribution of meals over the summer will be a little more complicated in rural areas, for sure. You don't want people spending a meal's worth of gas to get their kid to the place where the meals are every day. But excluding city kids entirely is not a reasonable answer to that challenge, and it doesn't sound like Republicans have a solid rationale built around distribution challenges anyway.

Maybe they should really spell it out, find a way to disqualify heavily black rural areas from receiving this money, or include an apology to any poor white urban kids they can't work into their pilot program.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed May 21, 2014 at 07:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by Barriers and Bridges, LatinoKos, Black Kos community, New Jersey Kossacks, Shamrock American Kossacks, Subversive Agitation Team Action Network, Protest Music, Team DFH, and Daily Kos.

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