"On the Agriculture Committee we have jurisdiction over the school lunch," Kingston said. "The school lunch program has a 16 percent error rate. The school lunch program is very expensive. Of course it looks good compared to the school breakfast program that has a 25 percent error rate…”
"But one of the things I've talked to the Secretary of Agriculture about: 'Why don't you, you know, have the kids pay a dime, pay a nickel to instill in them that there is, in fact, no such thing as a free lunch. Or maybe sweep the floor in the cafeteria.'”
Kingston was mentored by Newt Gingrich, a politician who voiced similar thoughts when he suggested in 2011 that poor students work as school janitors.
"And yes, I understand that would be an administrative problem and I understand that it would probably lose you money, but think what we would gain as a society in getting people -- getting the myth out of their head that there is such thing as a free lunch," Kingston said.
After a video of the congressman’s remarks was posted online, spokesman Chris Crawford responded to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution via email.
"It is sad that trying to have a productive conversation about instilling a strong work ethic in the next generation of Americans so quickly devolves into the usual name calling partisan hysteria. Having worked from a young age himself, Congressman Kingston understands the value of hard work and the important role it plays in shaping young people."