Republicans from the House and Senate oppose a proposed rule from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They believe this rule might lead schools to adopt policies reflecting the Biden administration’s stance on LGBTQ issues.
Florida’s Rep. Scott Franklin and Kansas’s Sen. Roger Marshall, both Republicans, will present resolutions on Tuesday against the USDA’s suggested amendment. This amendment relates to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aiming to encompass discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Last year, the USDA introduced this policy change, which faced criticism from Republican members and was flagged by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) as a significant rule change. As a result, it falls under the Congressional Review Act, from which the disapproval resolutions arise.
Franklin, Marshall, and several co-sponsors believe the Biden administration might use this rule to deny lunch funding for schools that don’t align with the proposed Title IX interpretations. Franklin expressed concern over the government using lunch as leverage, saying, “The USDA shouldn’t enforce LGBTQ ideologies or shared facility policies on local schools.” He thanked his colleagues for standing against what he viewed as an overstep by the Biden administration.
Marshall echoed these concerns, stating that schools might risk losing crucial funding if they don’t support certain policies. He emphasized the need to prevent such policies to ensure students have consistent access to school lunches.
Texas Rep. Randy Weber, a co-sponsor of the bill, criticized the administration, suggesting it might reduce lunch funding for non-compliant schools. Another co-sponsor, Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida, highlighted the significance of school lunch programs for vulnerable children in Florida, stating that any agenda shouldn’t compromise these programs.
The resolution introduced by Franklin in the House has already seen support from a range of Republicans. The list of original supporters comprises Weber, Bilirakis, and various GOP Representatives from multiple states.
Prominent conservative groups such as Heritage Action, the Alliance Defending Freedom, and CatholicVote have supported these resolutions.
However, a USDA representative clarified in a 2022 blog post that the proposed rule change wouldn’t impact student lunch funds.