Kansas Republican Senator Roger Marshall has threatened to block a bipartisan effort to fund school lunch programs because of a Biden administration policy banning discrimination against LGBTQ+ students in any program that receives federal nutrition money, which includes most school lunch programs.
The guidance, issued by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), requires school administrators to submit policies for combating discrimination against LGBTQ+ students.
Marshall told reporters he is "contemplating" objecting to the measure, adding that he is "just afraid that schools in Kansas won’t have school lunches because of this administration’s radical view on transgender issues."
Marshall went further, saying that he is "afraid that they’re going to raid the school lunch program over that issue.”
However, these concerns are not founded in reality, according to a USDA official who toldPolitico that the administration would not pull funding from school lunch programs because of laws barring transgender children from playing sports or accessing bathrooms that correspond to their gender identity.
The official stressed that individuals could only file complaints if they've been discriminated by the school lunch program based on their gender identity.
Democrats are trying to swiftly pass the legislation before funding expires on June 30 but even just a single vote of opposition could delay the effort – and cause millions of children around the nation to go hungry.
Many have criticized Marshall in light of the news.
Marshall has faced considerable pushback in his own state as a result of his remarks.
The editorial board of The Kansas City Starrepudiated Marshall, writing that "Taking food out of the mouths of poor and hungry children would represent a new low for heartless Republicans like Roger Marshall."
The board stressed that the discrimination Marshall is sanctioning is "wrong," adding that "Blocking a program that feeds children" is detestable. Doing it for political reasons is disgusting."
Marshall has a reputation as one of the more hardline conservatives in Congress, regularly promoting COVID-19 conspiracy theories and serving as one of former President Donald Trump's surrogates by backing the "Big Lie" and openly supporting efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election results.