Background: House and Senate Farm Bill conferees have agreed to allocate $6.4 billion of Farm Bill spending over 10 years for the Nutrtion Title. (The House version of the Farm Bill proposed to spend $3.6 billion over 10 years, while the Senate voted to earmark $8.9 billion for the Nutrition Title.) Congressional staff are actively engaged in negotiations on how to distribute the new spending among various nutrition policy priorities. Join with others across the country on Tuesday, April 9 and call your Members of Congress to urge them to support a strong nutrition title in the Farm Bill (H.R. 2646, formerly numbered in the Senate as S. 1731), including:
Restoring Eligibility for Legal Immigrants: The Senate bill restores food stamp benefits to many legal immigrants, including all children, and those in the country more than five years. However, language in the Senate bill would deny eligibility to anyone who had been in the country at any time without legal status for more than 12 months, regardless of their current status. Urge conferees to accept the full range of Senate restoration but to strike the prior status provision.
Food Stamp Benefit Improvements: Urge conferees to support improvements in the standard deduction scaling it to family size and adjusting for inflation, as in the Senate bill; raise and phase out the shelter deduction cap; relax the harsh time limit on food stamp benefits for jobless, childless adults willing to work expanding eligibility from 3 months per 36 months to 6 months per 24 months, as in the Senate bill; and allow states to provide 6 month transitional benefits to people leaving cash assistance.
Other Program Improvements: Urge conferees to include in the final bill provisions to improve quality control and to simplify program rules to make it easier for those eligible for food stamps to access the program.
Action Needed: Call your Senators and Representative on Tuesday, April 9 and urge them to support a strong Nutrition Title including the broadest possible restoration of eligibility for legal immigrants. If your Representative or Senators are not Farm Bill conferees, urge them to weigh in with their colleagues on the Conference Committee.
Senate Conferees: Chairman Harkin (D-IA), Daschle (D-SD), Leahy (D-VT), Conrad (D-ND), Lugar (R-IN), Helms (R-NC) and Cochran (R-MS)
House Conferees: Chairman Combest (R-TX), Goodlatte (R-VA), Boehner (R-OH), Pombo (R-CA), Everett (R-AL), Lucas (R-OK), Chambliss (R-GA), Moran (R-KS), Stenholm (D-TX), Clayton (D-NC), Condit (D-CA), Peterson (D-MN), Dooley (D-CA), Holden (D-PA).
Additional Conferees from House Committees will focus on provisions under their jurisdictions:
Ways & Means: Chairman Thomas (R-CA), Herger (R-CA), Rangel (D-NY)
Science: Chairman Boehlert (R-NY), Bartlett (R-MD), Hall (D-TX)
Resources: Chairman Hansen (R-UT), Young (R-AK), Kind (D-WI)
Judiciary: Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Green (R-WI), Baldwin (R-WI)
International Relations: Chairman Hyde (R-IL), Smith (R-NJ), Lantos (D-CA)
Financial Services: Chairman Oxley (R-OH), Bachus (R-AL), LaFalce (D-NY)
Energy/Commerce: Chairman Tauzin (R-LA), Barton (R-TX), Dingell (D-MI)
Education: Castle (R-DE), Osborne (R-NE), Kildee (D-MI)
Budget: Chairman Nussle (R-IA), Sununu (R-NH), Spratt (D-SC)
Call your Members through the Capitol switchboard (202) 225-3121.
The U.S. Catholic bishops have consistently supported national policy to establish food security and combat hunger; to strengthen domestic food assistance programs to ensure that no one in America goes hungry or suffers malnutrition; and to create an agricultural/food system that promotes healthy communities, and local participation, allowing Americans and farm families everywhere to thrive abundantly. See Food Policy in a Hungry World .
For more information, contact Kathy Curran at 202-541-3188, email@example.com.