This vote was on an amendment aimed at increasing the availability of “pulse” crops – such as dry peas, lima beans, and lentils – in school breakfasts and lunches.
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill that authorizes federal programs that assist farmers and low-income Americans. Sen. Cantwell’s amendment would devote $10 million to purchasing so-called “pulse” crops for use in school breakfasts and lunches. The amendment also called for an evaluation of the effort to increase consumption of the crops among schoolchildren.
Supporters of Sen. Cantwell’s amendment argued that pulse crops are healthy and cheap, a combination that would allow them to help the government achieve dual aims of reducing spending and improving nutrition among U.S. children.
“This amendment works to improve the nutritional value of school meals across America,” Sen. Cantwell said. “The Pulse School Pilot would be a win for kids, schools and agriculture jobs.”
Although no senators spoke out against Sen. Cantwell’s amendment, it was opposed by a group of senators who objected to a number of amendments on the grounds that they added spending to the farm bill. Sen. Cantwell’s amendment would increase spending in the underlying bill by $10 million.
Sen. Cantwell’s amendment was approved by a vote of 58-41. Voting “yea” were 52 Democrats and 6 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 40 Republicans and 1 Democrat. As a result, the Senate moved forward with legislation aimed at increasing the availability of “pulse” crops – such as peas, beans, and lentils – in school lunches.