« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
but it simply means that if we have to come back to the Congress and reimburse that fund, let's do it. But for Heaven's sakes, let's not cut back on hungry kids.
Mr. LYNG. Nr. Chairman, the State of Washington last year had an average reimbursement under section 11 of 28.4 cents. This year they will have an average reimbursement of 40 cents, so this is a substantial increase for that State. The 28.4 in Washington compared to the national average of 31.1 cents shows the State of Washington benefits, and is one of those States that really is helped by this.
Mr. BELL. Mr. Chairman ?
Do I understand there would be a minimum of reduced lunches in a State, but if a State wanted to divide that differently, they could do
Mr. Lyng. Mr. Quie, this is a point of difference between Chairman Perkins' proposal and the regulations as we announced them today. Traditionally we have allowed the States some flexibility in the apportionment of these funds, as we discussed, between poor schools. The chairman's proposal would set a floor of 40 cents. Of course, they could go on up to more needy schools.
The additional cost of this is considerable. We are not absolutely sure what it would cost; a good deal would depend upon what criteria we would build. We have to really modify, we think, and build a much more rigid criteria, than those described by Miss Kelley a moment ago. Under that kind of proposal we are not absolutely sure how we could do that.
But we think that it could cost a minimum of $65 million and it could cost above a hundred million over our proposal of today.
Mr. QUIE. Does the State department of education make the determination which schools will stay with that 40-cent average, which get more than that and which get less than that?
Mr. Lyng. Yes. Using the criteria that Miss Kelley outlined in accordance with the State plan filed with the Department, they make that allocation at the State level and it has worked out pretty well.
Mr. Quis. Does no the school have to make a pretty strong case when, in effect, it takes money away from the school district ?
Mr. Lyng. Yes; and we think the States are best able to make that determination.
Mr. Quis. Under regulations is the 5 cents also an average minimum ?
Mr. Lyng. On the same basis as the five, we would have an increased cost of $40 million or $41 million over the funds appropriated.
Mr. Quis. That is all the questions I have.
With regard to Mr. Meeds' last comment in which he said, “Don't go dipping into that additional money to help needy kids” sounds all right, but as I understand your testimony, actually mechanically that could not be accomplished right now; is that right? Even if you could dip into it, you would have difficulty in getting the money to the children.
Mr. Lyng. We intend to get some to the children, Mr. Bell. We don't think the money is going to be the thing that keeps us from doing the 100 percent. We would have trouble in delivering 100 percent, regardless of the amount of money available.
Mr. BELL. That is the same thing we had trouble with in Mississippi and other areas a few years ago, they had trouble getting it to the needy people.
Mr. Lyng. Yes; the problem in our home State of California. Incidentally 2 years ago, it was about the lowest major State in terms of participation of any State in the Nation. States like in the Southeast were very high. This has been changing very rapidly in California, but it was only last year that Los Angeles came under the national school lunch program.
Mr. BELL. So it is not just the money, it is the mechanics of making it work?
Mr. Lyng. Yes.
Mr. MEEDS. I would like to clarify this. Your calculation of $40 to $41 million is premised on reimbursement to presently existing programs; was it not?
Mr. Lyng. No; it is based on participation, an estimate of participation.
Mr. MEEDS. But participation by the same people that today are receiving 5 cents.
Mr. Lyng. We are expecting an increase, Mr. Chairman. This takes our projected participation for this fiscal year, which we think will be an increase. So that it will-yes, it will be the same people plus some additional ones.
Mr. MEEDS. Are you having trouble getting funds to the same people who are participating? I don't understand this colloquy between you and Mr. Bell because you say you are having trouble getting it to the people and it seems to me it is just a matter of increasing by 1 cent to the same people.
Mr. LYNG. No; I am not talking about the 5 versus 6 cents. I think Mr. Bell was referring to the numbers of needy children who are not now receiving free or reduced price lunches. We have earlier discussed that this figure ranged between 900,000 and 1.2 million. Mr. Bell was wondering why we could not just use this reserve of section 32 funds to get the job done.
I came to the conclusion, we at least discussed the fact, that there are other problems besides money in getting this job done.
Mr. MEEDS. So we don't have any problem though with this question, at least if we can isolate these things. Under section 4 you are now reimbursing all States at the rate of or proposing to reimburse all States at the rate of 5 cents per lunch regardless of free
Mr. Lyng. On an average statewide minimum basis; yes.
Mr. MEEDS. All right. Now you would not have any difficulty in increasing that, any mechanical difficulty in increasing that to 6 cents; would you?
Mr. Lyng. The money is there in section 32. There is some question, I suppose, about our authorities. I am not absolutely sure how much we can invade that without coming to the Congress. In any case I think that with the spirit of the Congresss being what it is, we could do it without any great difficulty; yes.
Mr. Bell. You mean you could increase it? Is that what you are saying?
Mr. Lyng. Yes.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Mr. Secretary, we then, I think, are reasonably agreed that to carry out the provisions of this act, it would require an additional $100 million over and above what you have committed today under your proposal?
Mr. LYNG. Mr. Chairman, on the 40-cent item itself, the question of the 40 cents for free and reduced price. If that were a floor, we think that would range between $65 and $100 million more than the regulations which we adopted.
On section 4, the 5 cents, if it were moved to 6 cents, this would cost $40 million on the basis of an average. I don't have a figure of what it would cost if it were a minimum, but it would be more than that. It could be as much as $20 million more, I think. So we could say
that the difference between the regulations that we adopted today and the regulations as proposed by Chairman Perkins could range from about $105 million to perhaps as much as $160 million. We have no hard figures on that.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Do you mean to say, then, a total budget of some $220 million for all programs across the board, total budget of $220 million for fiscal 1972 that we cannot find another $105 to $165 million to feed these kids properly? I mean, I don't understand that. I am just a small guy from a little suburb by the side of Chicago and I don't understand why we would sit here and haggle about this kind of money for this program.
Now I am the first man to support cuts and various other programs. I think you ought to cut programs, but I think that we have already agreed a number of years ago that we have a national commitment. We agreed that there would be no hungry kids in this country.
If what these telegrams tell me is true, we are going backwards. Now can't we get that money out of the section 32 or some other way?
Mr. Lyng. We have proposed not to do so in our regulations, Mr. Pucinski. We do this without any feeling that we are failing in our commitment to eliminate hungry children. I repeat that the difference of 5 to 6 cents is not particularly aimed at hungry children; most of it would go to children from aflluent families, at least families above the poverty level.
The question of making the 40 cents a minimum instead of an average presents real administrative problems which we have not clearly been able to understand or to understand how we would administer. Further, it would make a very major increase in the total cost of the program. It would increase the Federal role in the program to an extent, I believe, which exceeds the concept of the National School Lunch Act as we have understood it.
In statements before the Senate Agriculture Committee and on the floor of the Senate just in recent days Senator Ellender, who was an original author of the act, pointed out that the national school lunch program had always been considered to be a partnership program between the Federal and the State and local agencies. The amendments to the act in 1970 called for State participation in the program, concentrated on needy children. We think that the Federal action on this goes a long way toward fulfilling our commitment to this partnership.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Well, Mr. Secretary, we obviously have an honest disagreement. The administration has problems and you have taken a position. We have our commitments we are going to take a position on. Perhaps you are not the one I should be asking this question of, but we are moving on these regulations because in the opinion of the legislative branch of Government the mandate incorporated in the original legislation has somewhat been distorted in the interpretation.
Now just as one friend to another are there any other Mickey Mouses in this bill that would permit you to continue to do what you are doing even if we pass this legislation? We obviously are trying to close the door, we are trying to lock the barn, we are trying to write a bill that will take all of that initiative away and will compel your agency to do what we think ought to be done.
Now while I don't want you to divulge any professional secrets, if this bill is passed in its present form, signed by the President, will you then be compelled to go to the 40-cent floor and a 6-cent assistance base ?
Mr. Lyng. If the resolution the committee is considering is identical to the one passed by the Senate, then it would not do what you suggest without revision.
Mr. PUCINSKI. All right. I appreciate your candor and frankness.
What would we have to do with this bill to do what we want to do and take the initiative away from you and put it in our court?
Mr. Lyng. The bill amends certain sections of the National School Lunch Act, Mr. Chairman, but it does not amend the right sections to accomplish what I really believe was the legislative intent of the Senate, what the chairman wanted to do in the Senate or what the Senate believed they were doing.
I would repeat that I would hope the committee would look closely at the regulations as we propose them. I suspect that they have really accomplished most of the things that the proponents of the resolution, the constituents that have urged the resolution, wanted. We feel that it is important. We agree with Chairman Perkins that it is important this thing be clarified and that is the reason we published these regulations.
We feel strongly that the schools need to know. We would be hopeful that the committee would believe that, because we have made this major step of increasing the expenditures by $135 million, that there would be no longer the need, the same need, that the Senate felt in passing the resolution.
Now if the committee feels that the resolution needs to be passed, we would be pleased to send staff people up here to assist the committee, however, in technical ways.
Mr. PUCINSKI. That is a very fine gesture on your part because there is just no sense in legislating and finding out that after we have gone through the whole process, that we are right back where we started from. Obviously the intent of the chairman, whether you agree with that position or not, is that at this point subject to your testimony, but the intent of the chairman obviously is to build a 40cent floor and a 6-cent rate of assistance.
Now we will be talking here with counsel to find out precisely if this resolution can do exactly that and then we will slug it out on the floor. If we have the votes, fine; if we don't, that is the name of the game.
Mr. Lyng. In Chairman Perkins' testimony on page 3 he said that translated into dollar figures the State directors have estimated that it will take $513 million under the section 11 and section 32 funds to meet the national needs for free and reduced price lunches.
The regulations that we announced today will put $525 million into that area, which is $8 million more than the chairman's testimony estimated, said that the State directors have estimated. So that in that area I believe that we have substantially solved the major problem.
Mr. PUCINSKI. I know it is entirely possible that you may have, I don't know. It seems to me that when we are dealing with as big a program as this, it is quite possible that there may be some slippage, that we overlook and maybe we are doing a much better job than we think we are. I don't know. For that reason it would seem to me that if our estimates showed $513 million, and you are already spending $525 million, then why would we object to having an ironclad resolution that cost for 40 cents and 6 cents ?
If you are already doing that, then it won't affect you. Mr. Lyng. Mr. Chairman, the 40 cents and 6 cents, as outlined by Chairman Perkins, would cost a great deal more than $525 million.
Mr. PUCINSKI. In other words, you think the $513 million figure is low?
Mr. Lyng. We think it is what the State directors believe they needed. With due respect, I find the chairman's testimony somewhat confusing, because the minimum levels that he referred to would cost a good deal more than that $513 million figure.
Mr. PUCINSKI. Well, we will certainly want to get some more information on this.
One quick question. Perhaps Miss Kelley or someone else can answer.
Generally how do you evaluate the program today? Without discussing whether we go to 40-cent average or 40-cent base, how in your judgment is the program working out? Are we reaching the youngsters we want to reach?
Miss KELLEY. Yes, I think we have made remarkable progress. I think it is essential that we try to clarify the funding structure. To prevent, year after year, putting the funds in States, not in accordance with the participation, with several States having to wait 6 to 8 months to see if we can reapportion funds among States.
I think we do have a problem in reaching the no-program schools, particularly needy no-program schools. That is why we have directed the States to put a higher
priority on the use of equipment assistance funds to reach needy schools-rather than spending the money on already participating schools.