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Federal Government
Agriculture Department Works To Preserve Food Distribution During Partial Shutdown PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 11 January 2019 09:05

At the direction of President Donald J. Trump, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue today announced a plan to ensure that low-income Americans have access to the nutrition they need, despite the inability of Congress to pass an appropriations bill that safely secures our borders.  The plan provides full benefits for participants in USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for the month of February.

When USDA’s funding expired on December 21, 2018, SNAP benefits for January were fully funded. States have already received that money and have been distributing it to participants. Since the lapse in appropriations, USDA has been reviewing options available to the department for funding February benefits without an additional appropriation from Congress.

“At President Trump’s direction, we have been working with the Administration on this solution.  It works and is legally sound.  And we want to assure states, and SNAP recipients, that the benefits for February will be provided,” Perdue said.  “Our motto here at USDA has been to ‘Do Right and Feed Everyone.’  With this solution, we’ve got the ‘Feed Everyone’ part handled.  And I believe that the plan we’ve constructed takes care of the ‘Do Right’ part as well.”

To protect SNAP participants’ access for February, USDA is working with states to issue February benefits earlier than usual.  USDA will rely on a provision of the just-expired Continuing Resolution (CR), which provides an appropriation for programs like SNAP and child Nutrition to incur obligations for program operations within 30 days of the CR’s expiration.  USDA will be reaching out to states to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February.  States will have until January 20th to request and implement the early issuance.  Once the early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time. 

USDA has also ensured the other major nutrition assistance programs have sufficient funding to continue operations into February. The child nutrition programs, including school meals and after-school programs have funding available to continue operations through March. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) has prior year funding which USDA will begin to provide states this week to facilitate February benefits. Other FNS programs, which provide critical assistance to our nation’s food banks, the elderly, and Tribal nations, may continue to utilize grant funding provided prior to the lapse in appropriations. Commodity deliveries to those programs will continue.

Nutrition Assistance Programs under a Lapse in Appropriations

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)

  • USDA will use the authority under the last Continuing Resolution to issue February benefits.  The Continuing Resolution that expired December 21, 2018 provided an appropriation for programs like SNAP and Child Nutrition to incur obligations for program operations during the 30 day-period following the expiration of the Act.
  • States will need to take action to issue February benefits on or before January 20, 2019.  We will be reaching out to States to instruct them to request early issuance of SNAP benefits for February. States will have until January 20 to implement this early issuance. 
  • Once these early issuances are made, the February benefits will be made available to SNAP participants at that time.  SNAP monthly issuance for February is estimated to be approximately $4.8 billion and State administrative expense (SAE) is estimated at about $350 million for a total need of approximately $5.1 billion.
  • This approach requires careful coordination. FNS has noticed States to hold their issuance filesStates would, instead, implement an early issuance strategy, providing February benefits to SNAP participants on or before January 20, 2019.  We will be working with States individually on how this approach is executed, in order to issue benefits to eligible households in the most efficient and equitable manner possible. 

Child Nutrition Programs

  • For these programs, including school meals and the Child and Adult Care Food Program, States already have funding to cover CN program operations for the month of January (approximately $2.1 billion) on the basis of the last continuing resolution.
  • This week, we will provide an additional two months’ worth of funding, consistent with the standard practice of funding these programs on a quarterly basis.

Supplemental Nutrition and Safety Programs

  • For WIC, FNS has identified resources to cover projected State expenditures for February.  The agency will allocate at least $248 million to State agencies this week, and we have identified an additional $350 million in unspent prior year funds to allocate at a later date.  A total of approximately $600 million in funding will be provided to WIC State agencies. We will continue to work with States to make resources available to the extent possible.
  • For the WIC Farmers’ Market (FMNP) and Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Programs (SFMNP), FNS does not anticipate significant operational impacts as they are seasonal benefit programs with annual grant funds.
  • For the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), food deliveries planned for February will continue.  Due to the lapse, States have not received their 2019 caseload assignments, so CSFP-participating States must operate at 2018’s caseload levels.  Similarly, states have received no additional administrative funds since the lapse, and none can be made available until the lapse ends.
  • For The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), food deliveries planned for February (including entitlement, bonus and trade mitigation) will continue.  States have received no additional administrative funds since the lapse, and none can be made available until the lapse ends.
  • For the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), food deliveries planned for February will continue.  FDPIR programs have administrative funding through January 31 and are expected to operate the program.

 

 
Sen. Tillis Says It's Time To Secure Borders, Reform Immigration Laws And Re-Open Government PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 11 January 2019 09:00

WASHINGTON, D.C.  Today, U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) issued the following statement on President Trump’s address to the nation regarding border security:

“For decades, both parties have promised the American people they would secure our nation’s borders, promises that have gone unfulfilled. With the government partially shut down and the stakes high, if Congress can’t reach a commonsense compromise on border security and immigration now, it’s sending a message to the American people that it never can.

“President Trump has made clear that he will not sign a funding bill that contains inadequate border security funding. He’s called on both parties to work together in good faith and that’s what I’m committed to doing. We must be willing to compromise to end the gridlock and produce a positive outcome for the country. If both sides cast aside the most extreme voices on the far-left and far-right, I believe a solution is well within reach to re-open our government, secure our borders, and make badly-needed reforms to our nation’s broken immigration system.”

 

 
Congressman Holding Calls Shutdown Politics "A Circus" PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 04 January 2019 09:10

WASHINGTON – Congressman George Holding (NC-02) released the following statement on the partial government shutdown.

This partial shutdown epitomizes the worst of Washington. The politicians in Congress are more interested in scoring political points than rolling up their sleeves and getting to work,” said Congressman Holding."This is a circus. Too much politics, too little common sense."

 

 
Farm Bill Includes Tillis Provisions Promoting Hemp. HBCUs and Rural Job Development PDF Print E-mail
Federal Government
By Administrator   
Friday, 21 December 2018 10:44

U.S. Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) applauded the President for signing the 2018 Farm Bill into law. The bipartisan legislation included multiple wins for North Carolina’s farmers, including legislation he co-sponsored that delists hemp as a controlled substance, allowing NC’s hemp farming industry to continue to grow. The bill also includes the Carryover Equity Act (S.2384), legislation co-sponsored by Tillis which allows HBCUs the same financial flexibility that other land grants currently enjoy by eliminating an outdated provision that prohibited 1890 land grants (all HBCUs) from carrying over more than 20% of all extension funding. 

“The bipartisan 2018 Farm Bill is a win for America’s farmers following a tough year consisting of trade disputes and natural disasters,” said Senator Tillis. “I am proud the final version of this legislation contained multiple provisions I fought for on behalf of North Carolina’s farmers, including legislation to spur investment in rural businesses and to keep North Carolina’s textile and cotton industries globally competitive. I am also glad the Carryover Equity Act to give HBCUs the same financial flexibility that other land grants enjoy was included. I’m grateful to Chairman Roberts for his leadership in developing and building support for this important bipartisan legislation and to President Trump for signing it into law.”


Tillis-championed provisions in the Farm Bill include:

  • The Rural Jobs and Investment Act, bipartisan legislation cosponsored by Senators Tillis, Cassidy and Gillibrand. The bill spurs investment in rural business and creates rural jobs by creating a new grant program, the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) program. Administered by USDA, the program will provide grant funding to rural entrepreneurs and job accelerators. Additionally, the bill expands rural businesses access to capital.
  • The Carryover Equity Act, bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Tillis which allows HBCUs the same financial flexibility that other land grants currently enjoy by eliminating an outdated provision that prohibited 1890 land grants (all HBCUs) from carrying over more than 20% of all extension funding. 
  • The Hemp Farming Act of 2018 bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Tillis which delists hemp from as a controlled substance, allowing for the continued growth of North Carolina’s hemp farming industry.  
  • Expansion of USDA’s ability to conduct pilots on mobile technologies for accessing SNAP program benefits.
  • Maintaining cotton and textile programs which support the continued competitiveness of North Carolina’s cotton and textile industries.
  • Funding and provisions to protect NC livestock industry from the threat of foreign animal diseases - $300 million in mandatory funding for research, testing, and a vaccine stockpile. 
  • Funding for the Foreign Market Development program, the Market Access Program, and the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops program all of which are designed to promote U.S. agricultural exports.
  • Securing an update to what is known as the 10 Acre Rule. Many NC farms are “patchworked” together meaning lots of small parcels compile a larger, complete farm. However, existing commodity support program eligibility rules prevent farmers that patchwork their parcels to make up more than 10 acres total from participating.
Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2018 10:46
 
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