This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) that would have eliminated all federal funding ($180 million) for the McGovern-Dole Food for Education and Child Nutrition program, which provides school lunches to poor children in foreign countries. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Agriculture Department programs.
Broun urged support for his amendment: “I rise to offer my amendment which would zero out the McGovern-Dole program and save taxpayers $180 million in the coming fiscal year. We simply cannot continue to dole out money that we simply don't have, particularly when we're experiencing such a huge economic crisis and economic emergency here at home. It's important to make serious cuts wherever and whenever we can, and this funding is not tied to a specific national security interest. So we can afford to do without it. I think we should do without it, but I'm offering my amendment, and I hope it passes.”
Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) opposed Broun’s amendment: “McGovern-Dole has one basic goal: provide at least one nutritious meal to some of the world's most vulnerable children in a school setting. It has reduced the incidence of hunger among school-age children. It has increased school enrollment and attendance. It has increased the support of families and communities for education, especially for girls. McGovern-Dole is a proven success. Instead of cutting its funding, let alone eliminating it, we should be scaling it up. The cuts to McGovern-Dole already in the bill would end school meals for more than 400,000 children. Eliminating the funding would literally take the food out of the mouths of over 5 million of the world's most vulnerable children….it's bad enough to ignore hungry children. It's even worse to give a hungry child a meal, to give their parents hope for a better future, and then take it away. These are not just numbers in a bill. These are real living, breathing human beings, real children who are in school, many for the very first time because the U.S. is working with local communities to advance education and nutrition.”
The House rejected this amendment by a vote of 120-303. Voting “yea” were 120 Republicans. All 187 Democrats present and 116 Republicans voted “nay.” As a result, the House rejected an amendment that would have would have eliminated all federal funding ($180 million) for a program that provides school lunches to poor children in foreign countries.