Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nutrition in the stimulus

For all the pomp about the circumstances of cuts to spending in the Senate's version of the stimulus bill, the Senate has actually included some better child nutrition provisions than the House.

Either way, there are significant differences in the child nutrition (and other nutrition-related) provisions in the House and Senate bills. FRAC has an overview of the differences between the two versions. As details are being ironed out as we read, call your Representative and Senators and let them know that these are both important to the safety net for the growing number of unemployed Americans, as well as some of the most far-reaching ways that taxpayer dollars can be used- SNAP (formerly food stamps) generates $1.80 for every dollar spent.

Some key differences:
  • School Food Service: Senate has $100 million for school food service equipment. This is extremely important to enabling school food service to prepare fresh, healthy meals with local ingredients. Without, they are much more tied to the unhealthy, highly processed (and not to mention gross!) meals produced off-site with low quality ingredients.Keep the Senate version!
  • SNAP: House has $20 billion, Senate has $16 billion to increase monthly food stamp allotment. Keep House version!
  • WIC: Senate has $380 million to fund growing WIC caseload (as this is not an entitlement program). Keep Senate version!
The House also has a few hundred million dollars more for after school supper programs and senior meal. And the final bill most keep the provision in both versions which suspends 3-month waiting period for jobless adults to enroll in food stamps-- we know that the majority of food insecurity in American households occurs for short periods of time-it is essential as part of the stimulus package to make sure these benefits are available.

Not sure if it's better for folks to contact the Conference Committee members (below) or their own Representatives or Senators:

Who's on the Conference Committee:
The House and Senate have appointed conferees to work out their differences and craft a bill for a final vote in both chambers by the end of the week.

House conferees: Approps. Chair David Obey (D-WI), House Ways and Means Chair Charles Rangel (D-NY), Ed and Labor Chair George Miller (D-CA), Transportation and Infrastructure Chair James Oberstar (D-MN).

Senate conferees: Finance Chair Max Baucus (D-MT), Appropriations Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI), Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Ranking Finance Mbr: Charles Grassley (R-IA), Ranking Approps Mbr: Thad Cochran (R-MS).
cross-posted to The Jew and the Carrot and La Vida Locavore

1 comment:

Imee said...

I'm glad that the ARRA/stimulus package included provisions for people's health including food. I'm even more glad that the food stamp/SNAP program has already felt their share of the stimulus being realized.