It’s not often that you catch bike-riding peaceniks on the floor of the House, recycling impassioned speeches that originally were delivered by conservative firebrands. But if Pizzegetable-Gate has taught us anything, it’s that all is fair in lunchrooms and war.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) is definitely upset that the frozen-food lobby beat back attempts to jettison slices of cheese-laden pizza (categorized as a vegetable for nutritional standards) and deep-fried french fries in favor of healthier alternatives by tucking their pro-status-quo school lunch safeguards into the recent minibus bill.
Rather than spew vitriol at those from across the aisle, Blumenauer decided to speak to them in language they might more easily understand — liberally borrowing from one of the many rallying cries then-Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) led while championing the polarizing Defense of Marriage Act.
“The problem we have in front of us is the institution of vegetables has been weakened in this country, and the effort to redefine it on this vast social experiment that we have going on, redefining vegetables differently than it has ever been defined by mankind before, this effort of this vast social experiment the early data that we see from other places, harms the institution of the family, the raising of the next generation, and it is harmful to the future of the Republic,” Blumenauer warned his fellow lawmakers (with tongue planted firmly in cheek).
A Blumenauer aide said no formal challenge to the unsavory school lunch language has been introduced yet but left the door open for future legislative action.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.