Very good news for people on Saipan, who get help from the federal government to feed their families: their food stamp benefit will go up 16 percent on January 1. For an average family of four that is an increase from $444 a month to $515. This follows increases for Rota, the Northern Islands, and Tinian in May to reflect the higher cost of food on those islands. But there was still money left over from previous years’ grants, so I have been encouraging the Commonwealth and the Agriculture Department to raise benefits for Saipan, too.
H.R.83, with my language extending critical immigration policies in the Northern Mariana Islands for another five years, is now the vehicle for funding the federal government for fiscal year 2015. The House approved the bill 219 to 206 late Thursday night and the Senate is expected to act over the weekend. The White House says the President will sign the measure.