Background: At yesterday's public session of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2646) Conference, Senate and House Conferees took up the nutrition title, where three Food Stamp Program issues remain outstanding: legal immigrant restorations, amelioration of limits for jobless, childless adults, and purchase of vitamins and dietary supplements.
During a lengthy discussion of the legal immigrant restorations, the House conferees rejected a compromise offer from the Senate conferees to scale back the Senate's floor-approved provisions and to adopt instead the Administration's proposal to restore eligibility to those legal immigrants who have resided in the country for at least five years.
The Senate conferees rejected a counter proposal that Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) proposed for House Republicans that would have provided eligibility for fewer legal immigrants and at a cost of approximately $2 billion less than the $2.4 billion contained in the Senate-passed Farm Bill. Under the Goodlatte amendment, the approximately $2 billion dollars in savings would be transferred to non-nutrition titles in the Farm Bill.
Senators voted to reject the House proposal, with many commenting that it did not assist sufficient numbers of people and that it would add unwarranted complexity and unworkable administrative procedures to the bill. All Senate conferees (except Senator Jesse Helms, R-NC) opposed the House proposal.
- Urge House/Senate Farm Bill Conferees (see list below) to support a strong nutrition title and the broadest possible legal immigrant restorations, as in the Senate bill. Object to language in the Senate bill that 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 immigrant eligibility restoration but to strike the prior status provision.
- Maintain the $6.4 billion in new ten year funding for the nutrition title, including to support amelioration of the harsh time limits on jobless, childless adults.
- Urge Members of Congress not on the conference committee to weigh in with conferees with the above message.