School lunches that ''ration food to our kids'' are the latest sign of a federal government that has become too intrusive, U.S. Rep. Steve King said Tuesday in Fort Dodge.
''This is the nanny state personified,'' the Republican from Kiron said during a noon speech to about 20 people at the Webster County Republican Party headquarters, 900 Central Ave.
He said new school lunches, prepared in accordance with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act championed by first lady Michelle Obama, have come to his attention during recent campaign events. He said parents have approached him and have said things like ''My kids are starving in school. My kids are being rationed on calories.''
U.S. Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, speaks Tuesday afternoon during a campaign stop at the Webster County Republican headquarters in downtown Fort Dodge.
According to King, school lunches now have a maximum of 800 calories. He added that school lunches provide 10 ounces of meat per week.
''How bad has the nanny state gotten that they've got to come in, because there are some kids that are overweight, and put every kid in the school lunch program in America on a diet?'' he asked.
''That's your government solution - one size fits all,'' he added.
The caloric range for a high school lunch under the new law is 750 to 850 calories, according to Brenda Janssen, the local food service director for Taher Inc., the company that provides meals in the Fort Dodge Community School District.
Janssen said the school lunch entrees remain the same, but the amount of bread and condiments available has been reduced. She added that the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables has been increased.
There were some complaints about the new lunches during the first week of school, Janssen said.
King's comments on school lunches came as he campaigns for re-election in the 4th Congressional District. That district includes Webster County and all of its surrounding counties.
King faces Democrat Christie Vilsack, of Ames, in the November general election.
The congressman said he is not convinced that Vilsack has moved into the district.
Vilsack moved from Des Moines to Ames in April 2011, according to spokesman Sam Roecker.
''Voters will have a real choice in this campaign,'' said Vilsack campaign manager Jessica Vanden Berg. ''Christie Vilsack is focused on creating layers of economic opportunity for small towns and communities.''
During his speech, King repeated his call to repeal the health care reform law, which he called an ''unconstitutional taking of American liberty.''
He said that enacting a constitutional amendment requiring a balanced federal budget is his other top priority.
Congress is on recess this week because of the Labor Day holiday, but the senators and representatives will return to work next week. Following his speech, King said passing a Farm Bill will be the top priority of the House of Representatives when when Congress is back in session.
He said Democrats and Republicans are divided over the food stamp program, and that's what's holding up passage of the bill.
King said the Congress will have to pass a measure called a continuing resolution to keep the federal government funded because there is no chance a full budget will be passed before the next fiscal year starts on Oct. 1.