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Library of Congress Summary
The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
Food Stamp and Commodity Distribution Improvement Act of 1985 -
Food Stamp and Related Provisions
Amends the Food Stamp Act of 1977 to make homeless persons eligible to participate in the food stamp program (program). Requires State agencies to develop related certification and issuance procedures. Changes the four-person thrifty food plan adult age range from 20 to 54 years old to 20 to 50 years old. Requires the thrifty food plan to be adjusted annually each October 1 to reflect: (1) food price changes through the preceding June; and (2) the Secretary of Agriculture's projection of food price changes through the following September. Revises the definition of "disabled" to include certain persons receiving benefits under the Railroad Retirement Act or persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disabled benefits. Prohibits the collection of State and local taxes on food stamp purchases. Removes provisions which prohibited the distribution of federally donated foods in jurisdictions where the food stamp program is operated. Makes households each of whose members receive SSI or Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) categorically eligible for program participation. States that denial of eligibility or termination of benefits from such programs cannot be a basis for denial of food stamp eligibility or termination of benefits. Excludes loan origination fee payments and insurance premiums from "household income" under the program. Includes as such income any income from Federal educational grants not used for tuition and fees, from the program definition of "income." Requires that certain AFDC payments and State assistance made to third parties on behalf of food stamp households be treated as money paid directly to such households. Declares that earnings attributable to the Job Training Partnership Act shall be considered earned income. Increases the earned income deduction from 18 to 20 percent. Separates (presently combined) dependent care and excess shelter expense deductions. Provides for an educational deduction and an energy assistance deduction. Grants States the option of calculating income either prospectively or retrospectively. Authorizes the Food Stamp Disaster Task Force to assist States in implementing and operating the regular food stamp program in a disaster area. Increases the resources limitation from $1500 to $2500, and from $3000 to $3500 for the elderly and disabled. Increases the threshold for accounting a vehicle's value against resources from $4500 to $5500. Requires the disqualification of a household if the head of household fails to fulfill work requirements. (Current law disqualifies a household where any eligible member of such household fails to fulfill work requirements.) Exempts students under the Job Training Partnership Act from certain disqualification provisions and removes the exception for certain students who are parents. Requires each State agency to implement an employment program as set forth under this Act. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1985 through 1989 for such program. Directs the Secretary to report by January 1, 1989, to the appropriate congressional committees on the effectiveness of such programs. Permits States to stagger coupon issuance. Permits the disclosure of information submitted by retail stores to State agencies that administer the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants and Children under the Child Nutrition Act of 1966. Permits federally insured credit unions which have wholesale or retail grocers in their membership to redeem food stamps. Prohibits financial institutions from collecting charges for the redemption of coupons, other than charges relating to the cancellation of such coupons. Directs State agencies to periodically assess the need to keep food stamp offices open during weekend or evening hours. Requires the Secretary to encourage State agencies to disseminate program information. Imposes a civil penalty on the transferor of a disqualified retail food store. Prohibits any new owner from accepting food stamps until such penalty has been paid. Authorizes the Secretary to sue in district court to collect such penalty. Authorizes the Secretary, at the request of a State agency, to waive payment of a portion of any claim asserted against the State for its error rate, if the State shows that it will devote the waived portion to administrative efforts to reduce its payment error rate. Directs the Secretary to develop a model plan for computerization of the information systems under the food stamp program by October 1, 1986. Requires a report to the Congress by April 1, 1987, on the sufficiency of each State's computerized system. Extends the authority to conduct pilot projects intended to improve the efficiency of the program until October 1, 1990. (Currently, such authority expires October 1, 1985.) Authorizes the Secretary to continue any project beyond any established term if such project has a beneficial effect on administrative costs and error rates. Authorizes appropriations for the food stamp program for FY 1986 through 1990. Revises the Puerto Rico block grant program to: (1) make permanent the existing temporary (through September 30, 1985) suspension for the non-cash program requirement; (2) repeal the provision requiring Puerto Rico to pay 50 percent of administrative costs; and (3) repeal the requirement of a single administering agency. Authorizes appropriations for such program for FY 1986 through 1990. (Currently, such authorization is a fixed amount and open-ended.) Amends the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Act of 1973 to extend the commodity distribution program for FY 1986 through FY 1990 and the commodity supplemental food program from FY 1986 through 1989. (Currently, such programs expire in FY 1985.) Allows the continued distribution of agricultural commodities to low-income elderly under certain pilot projects.
Amendments to the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 and Other Commodity Distribution Provisions
Amends the Temporary Emergency Food Assistance Act of 1983 to declare emergency feeding organizations as eligible commodity recipients. Defines such organizations as those including charitable institutions, food banks, hunger centers, soup kitchens, and similar nonprofit agencies. Repeals provisions which: (1) authorize the use of wheat provided under the Food Security Wheat Reserve Act of 1980; and (2) relate to agreements for reprocessing commodities into end-use food products. Authorizes State agencies to enter into cooperative agreements for the provision of commodities to an emergency feeding organization. Authorizes appropriations for FY 1986 and 1987 for the costs associated with the distribution of commodities by emergency feeding organizations. Sets forth conditions associated with such funding. Requires the Secretary to publish regulations regarding the commodity distribution program for FY 1986 and 1987. Requires such regulations to include provisions that set standards of liability for commodity losses. Terminates the temporary emergency food program on September 30, 1987. (Currently, such program terminates September 30, 1985.) Directs the Secretary to report to the Congress on the activities under such program by April 1, 1987. Amends the Agricultural and Food Act of 1981 to require the Secretary to encourage consumption of products made available without charge or credit through agreements with private companies for the reprocessing of such products.
Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Education
Directs the Department of Agriculture, through its Extension Service, to coordinate a program where by State cooperative extension services provide food, nutrition, and consumer education services to low-income persons. Authorizes appropriations for such program for FY 1986 through 1990.
House Republican Conference Summary
The summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
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House Democratic Caucus Summary
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