Good News, Bad News for Food Stamps in Congress

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Celia Cole /(512) 320-0222 x110

May 15, 2002

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On Monday, May 13, President Bush signed the 2002 Farm Bill (The Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002), which includes significant improvements in the Food Stamp Program. The nutrition title of the Farm Bill simplifies enrollment in the Food Stamp Program, increases benefits for larger families, restores benefits to many legal immigrants, reforms the Quality Control system by which state performance is evaluated, and authorizes an increase in funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (more detail on these changes is forthcoming). The nutrition title of the Farm Bill is being referred to as the most important piece of Food Stamp legislation since the landmark 1977 Act, 25 years ago. Unfortunately, this victory for antihunger advocates has been overshadowed by two proposals in the welfare reauthorization bill (H.R. 4700) that would do major damage to the Food Stamp Program and potentially undercut all the positive changes made in the Farm Bill. This Policy Page explains these proposals and urges our readers to contact their Representatives immediately to ask them to vote against H.R. 4700.