"These are kids. If we were banning soda and vending machines for adults you could cry nanny state. But we parents send our children off to school and we expect the school to keep them safe and to care for them and that includes not serving them food that makes them fat and gives them heart diseases and diabetes," she said. "This isn't nanny state run amok. This is sensible protections for children."
Republicans have also questioned the hefty price tag of the bill, which would be paid in part by cuts to the federal food stamp program. At a time when there are a myriad of other issues to be dealt with in the nation's education system, and the deficit is at record levels, some have questioned the timing of the bill's passage.
Those who were objecting to the bill also said it will add to school's costs.
"All of our support is tempered by what we see as unfunded mandates and where bad policy or bad implementation will get in the way of good lunch policy," said Noelle Ellerson, assistant director of policy analysis and advocacy at American Association of School Administrators. "It's one thing to call for improvement in some local decision that leads to local changes in costs. It's another thing to make changes at the federal level and not provide the funding or put into place changes that could translate into unfunded costs at the local level."
But supporters say that getting rid of junk food in vending machines is actually good for schools. If they sell more lunch meals, they will get more federal dollars.
And Democrats counter that the benefits outweigh the costs in the long term.
"Some folks will say, 'how can we afford this bill at the moment?'" Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said Tuesday on a conference call with reporters. "How can we afford not to pass it? Leaving millions of children hungry and malnourished now in the name of budget cutting is penny wise and pound foolish."
ABC News' Mary Bruce contributed to this report.