WASHINGTON, DC— Rep. Scott Franklin (FL-18) introduced his bicameral Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution of disapproval to prevent the USDA from withholding school lunch funding and retaliating against schools that do not comply with the White House’s sexual orientation and gender identity policies.  U.S. Senator Dr. Roger Marshall (R-KS) is leading companion legislation in the Senate.

While the Biden White House stoops so low as to use school lunch as leverage in a political game to intimidate school systems into adopting their woke agenda, we’ve worked hard in Florida to kick progressive culture wars out of the classroom and keep parents in charge,” Rep. Franklin said.  “We don’t coparent with the federal government. The USDA does not have the authority to impose LGBTQ ideology and dangerous social experiments like shared bathrooms and locker rooms on local schools.  I thank my colleagues for joining me to hold the Biden Administration accountable for this abuse of power.”

“In Joe Biden’s America public schools must support Democrats’ radical transgender movement or they’re at risk of losing substantial funding. This president is relentless in forcing his misaligned values on the American people and children.  We must stop this policy dead in its tracks to protect access to school lunches for students across the country and send a clear message to this Administration: stop weaponizing the federal government in your pursuit of indoctrinating children. The USDA has NO authority to require biological boys to be given access to girl’s bathrooms and locker rooms, nor do they have the power to allow biological boys to compete against biological girls in girls’ sports,” Senator Marshall said, who is sponsoring this legislation in the Senate.

“Forcing schools to accept the woke agenda by withholding school lunch money for underprivileged kids is wrong and unacceptable. Congress must repeal this effort to extort our school districts,” Rep. Posey said.

“The millions of children who rely on school lunch programs shouldn’t be held hostage by this administration’s determination to impose its far-left ideology on our public schools,” Rep. Finstad said. “I’m proud to join Rep. Franklin in supporting this legislation, which would prevent the federal government from weaponizing funding for the National School Lunch Program against schools that choose not to comply with the radical ‘gender identity’ policies handed down by this administration.”

“The Biden Administration wants to cut lunch funding at schools that refuse to participate in the Biden Administration’s woke gender frenzy,” Rep. Weber said. “Parents who wish to shelter their children from this madness shouldn't have to worry about whether transgender indoctrination is the price for a school lunch. We are fighting against draconian overreach by USDA to ensure that our children's lunches aren't held hostage.”

“It is a shame that the Biden Administration would consider jeopardizing our children’s school lunches for the sake of woke ideology. My home state of Mississippi and many others across the nation rightfully hold to traditional definitions, values, and beliefs. The Biden Administration continues to provoke progressive liberal culture wars at great expense to our nation’s most vulnerable—our children,” Rep. Guest said.

“The federal school lunch program provides essential nutrition for many of Florida’s most vulnerable children.  For some, it is the only consistent meal they can rely upon” Rep. Bilirakis said.  “This critical program should not be held hostage by the Biden Administration’s continued attempts to force its liberal ideology and a woke agenda down the throats of all Americans.” 

"In an attempt to signal their virtue, the Biden administration has decided to withhold food from children unless schools comply with a highly controversial and illegal mandate,” Rep. Lamborn said. “This mandate is, in its essence, a blackmail scheme intended to force compliance by using the welfare of children as a bargaining chip, which truly shows the supposed morality of the Biden administration."

“The Biden Administration’s relentless attempts to force sex and gender identity politics on children are nothing short of disgusting. Yet he has somehow managed to achieve a new low by threatening to strip schools of lunch program funding for failing to bow to his radical transgender policies,” Rep. Ogles said. “Simply put, kids aren’t safe in the hands of the Biden regime. This type of strong-arming is unacceptable, which is why I am proud to join Congressman Franklin in condemning this abuse of power.”

In January 2021 President Biden issued Executive Order 13988, directing federal agencies to review, revise, suspend or rescind any agency policy that did not align with his Administration’s sexual orientation and gender identity agenda. 

Pursuant to the President’s order, in May 2022 the USDA announced it will interpret the word “sex” in Title IX to mean “sexual orientation and gender identity.”  As a result, “state and local agencies, program operators and sponsors that receive funds from the Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) must investigate allegations of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Those organizations must also update their non-discrimination policies and signage to include prohibitions against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.”

The FNS administers the National School Lunch Program provided low-cost and free lunches to 29.6 million children at nearly 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools in fiscal year 2019.

Franklin’s legislation utilizes the Congressional Review Act to rescind the USDA’s recent policy.  A CRA resolution of disapproval is a special legislative procedure that allows Congress to claw back executive or agency action while providing clarity on the agency’s statutory authority.  When enacted, it also prohibits the agency from any similar rulemaking in the future.

 The Attorneys General of 22 states have sued the Biden Administration, including: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia are plaintiffs.

House original cosponsors include: Rep. Mary Miller (R-IL), Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN), Rep. Tracey Mann (R-KS), Rep. Greg Steube (R-FL), Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC), Rep. Clay Higgins (R-LA), Rep. John Moolenaar (R-MI), Rep. Adrian Smith (R-NE), Rep. Mike Bost (R-IL), Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), Rep. Roger Williams (R-TX), Rep. Jim Banks (R-IN), Rep. Brad Finstad (R-MN), Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), Rep. Randy Weber (R-TX), Rep. Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), and Rep. Michael Guest (R-MS).

Outside Supporting Organizations: Heritage Action, Alliance Defending Freedom, CatholicVote