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Community Leaders Call on Congress to Renew School Meals Programs
Written by Marti Mikkelson   
Thursday, 03 September 2015 08:57

As the school year approaches, Milwaukee’s summer meal programs for children are ending. Now some districts are watching Congress to see whether it renews the program for low income students.

The Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act is set to expire at the end of September. The program provides healthy meals, even though they can cost more.

Jaylen Hill has been playing basketball with friends at Merrill Park on 35th and Clybourn. During a break they head over to a table and help themselves to free sandwiches, apples and cartons of milk. The park has provided the food through the Summer Meals program.

The 9-year-old says the lunches sometimes help offset the junk food he eats. “Chips, candy, juices,” Hill says.

Yet Hill admits, his refrigerator at home is stocked with plenty of healthy foods. He says it’s partly because his family relies on government assistance. “Sometimes I have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We get $1,000 in food stamps so we mostly get whatever we want,” Hill says.

Parent Dominique Hampton says she also tries to keep her fridge stocked with well-balanced meals. “Chicken, chicken legs, chicken alfredo, vegetables, rice, beans,” Hampton says.

House Dems to offer Ex-Im bill
Written by Kevin Cirilli   
Monday, 09 February 2015 08:50

Top Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee plan to introduce legislation reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank’s charter, which is set to expire on June 30.  Democratic Reps. Gwen Moore (Wis.), Maxine Waters (Calif.) and Denny Heck (Wash.) are working on the bill, according to an email Moore’s chief of staff, Minh Ta, sent to senior House Democratic  staff members on Thursday.

The email, which said the lawmakers were working on a "Democratic alternative reform Ex-Im bill," was first obtained by The Hill. “We hope to get a bill drafted and introduced soon that will adhere to the diversity of the Dem Caucus and keep us unified,” Ta wrote. “As you all know, the reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank is a major priority for the Dem Caucus and all our bosses... I just wanted make you all aware that there will be a Dem bill out there.”

It's unclear how the legislation will differ from the five-year Ex-Im reauthorization bill that Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-Tenn.) introduced earlier this week. Fincher’s bill had 57 GOP co-sponsors, but no Democrats.  Moore said Friday during a forum in Milwaukee with bank president Fred Hochberg that  Fincher's bill“ is a good start — but it has warts.” Fincher's bill would require audits of the bank’s  portfolio, and would reduce its lending cap from $140 billion to $130 billion.  It also includes a provision opposed by environmentalists that would reverse Ex-Im guidelines restricting the bank from financing projects at power plants that don't adopt greener technology. One senior Democrat aide to a House member said that the provision was a “non-starter” for many House Democrats.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and other fiscal conservatives oppose Ex-Im's reauthorization. They argue that the bank is “corporate welfare” that only helps big businesses like Boeing. Democrats and centrist Republicans, backed by the business community, say the bank helps expand U.S. exports by financing U.S. investments abroad.  Hensarling hasn't said whether he will move a bill through his committee, which has jurisdiction on the issue. Ex-Im supporters hope they can put pressure on Hensarling by building bipartisan support.

Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) has said he will hold a hearing on the bank's reauthorization.


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