[Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: William J. Clinton (1998, Book II)]
[October 31, 1998]
[Pages 1936-1937]
[From the U.S. Government Publishing Office www.gpo.gov]

Statement on Signing the William F. Goodling Child Nutrition 
Reauthorization Act of 1998
October 31, 1998

    Today I am signing into law H.R. 3874, the ``William F. Goodling 
Child Nutrition Reauthorization Act of 1998.'' This legislation extends 
the authorization of appropriations for a number of child nutrition 
programs, including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for 
Women, Infants, and Children--more commonly known as WIC--and the Summer 
Food Service and Farmers Market Nutrition Programs. In addition, it 
makes various amendments to these programs to expand children's access 
to food assistance and improve the programs' operation, management, 
integrity, and safety. I am pleased that this Act includes many 
provisions that my Administration proposed.
    The Act will help to improve the nutritional and health status of 
America's most needy children. In particular, H.R. 3874 permits schools 
and other nonprofit institutions providing after-school care to older, 
``at-risk'' youth to receive

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meal supplements at no charge. In addition, it continues to allow 
children in the Even Start Family Literacy Program to be eligible for 
free school meals.
    The Act makes a number of changes to improve the administration, 
efficiency, and integrity of the child nutrition programs while 
protecting health and safety standards. It removes barriers to the 
participation of private, nonprofit organizations in the Summer Food 
Service Program, especially in rural areas, and streamlines many 
National School Lunch Program procedures. In addition, it revises 
program licensing requirements to allow more child care providers to 
provide Federally funded snacks to needy children. Furthermore, it 
ensures health and safety inspections of school food service operations 
where they are currently not required.
    The Act is tough on fraud and abuse. It allows the Department of 
Agriculture to permanently disqualify from the WIC program vendors 
convicted of trafficking food instruments--such as WIC vouchers or 
electronic benefit transfer cards--or selling firearms, ammunition, 
explosives, or controlled substances in exchange for them. In addition, 
it requires WIC applicants to appear in person to apply for benefits and 
document their income as a condition of receiving benefits.
    It is well known that a strong relationship exists between 
children's nutritional status and their ability to learn, and I remain 
vitally concerned that all school children have what they need to 
succeed in school. In joining together to support H.R. 3874, my 
Administration and the Congress have forged a bipartisan opportunity to 
improve the nutrition, health, and well-being of our Nation's children. 
I am pleased to sign this legislation into law.

                                                      William J. Clinton

The White House,

October 31, 1998.

Note: H.R. 3874, approved October 31, was assigned Public Law No. 105-