Republicans in North Dakota are facing criticism this week after they voted to boost their own budgets for meal reimbursements, even as they blocked an expansion of a free lunch program for low-income school students.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead reports that the Republican-dominated North Dakota Senate voted to ratify the boost to meal reimbursements for lawmakers and state workers just 10 days after the same institution narrowly blocked a bill that would have expanded the state's free lunch program.
According to the Forum, the legislation had previously passed through North Dakota's House of Representatives and would have "dedicated $6 million over the next two school years to cover lunch costs for K-12 students with family incomes below double the federal poverty level," meaning that "children from families of four making less than $60,000 a year would have qualified."
Democrats in the North Dakota State Senate did not hesitate to rip their Republican colleagues for being hypocrites, even though the Republicans have insisted that the two bills are not related to one another.
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“I thought today’s vote was very self-serving,” Senate Minority Leader Kathy Hogan told the Forum. “How can we vote for ourselves when we can’t vote for children?”