WASHINGTON — The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday passed an agriculture budget bill that included nearly $21 billion for child nutrition that would allow schools to opt out of White House nutritional guidelines passed in 2012.
The vote was 31 to 18.
The Obama administration, hoping to combat rising childhood obesity, announced new rules in 2012 that added more fruits and green vegetables to school breakfasts and lunches and reduced the amount of salt and fat children consumed at schools.
About 32 million children participate in school meal programs each day.
Representative Robert Aderholt, Republican of Alabama and chairman of the House appropriations agriculture subcommittee, said on Thursday that the provision would give schools 12 months to help them comply with the rules.
“Everyone supports healthy meals for children,” Mr. Aderholt said. “But the bottom line is that schools are finding it’s too much, too quick.”
But Representative Sam Farr, ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, called the waiver a poison pill that would undermine congressional efforts to provide children with nutritious foods.