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Monday, November 22, 2010 - 10:10am

Now Who Wants A Salad With That School Lunch?

Updated: 5 years ago.

The House plans to take up the Senate version of the child nutrition bill in early December. It's paid for in part with promised food stamp money increases, but the Administration has promised it will fix that later.Salad bars in schools seem to encourage kids to eat more fresh fruits and veggies, especially if they are displayed attractively, as NPR's Allison Aubrey and others have reported.

But how to pay for it?

When the First Lady talks up school salad bars at an elementary school in Miami later today, she may face some tough questions about how much green the feds will contribute to the greens on display.

NPR's Pam Fessler puts the odds of passing the $5.4 billion child nutrition bill -- which funds school lunch and other programs -- this year at "good."

This is in part because House leaders have agreed to take up the Senate's lower-cost version.

Now that lower-cost version has some drawbacks -- like less money per lunch, and a taking of future increased dollars promised to the food stamp program, now known as SNAP benefits.

But with Republicans taking the helm in the House in January, Democrats and many anti-hunger groups are starting to realize the Senate bill may just be the best they can get, Fessler says.

Also, the Obama administration has pledged to restore the funding before the cuts take effect in 2013.

That promise has been good enough for House Democrats Jim McGovern of Massachusetts and Rosa De Lauro of Connecticut, who earlier had fought the Senate funding levels.

"We have been assured that they will work with Congress to restore this cut and use their current authorities to protect the integrity of SNAP and further improve children's access to the nutrition programs," says a Dear Colleague letter the two sent out last week with House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller.

House leaders plan to take up the Senate bill on December 1st or 2nd. Copyright 2010 National Public Radio. To see more, visit