Focus on Marianas food aid

Jun 10, 2019

To get information on food assistance and school meal programs for the Marianas I asked to sit in with the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services for a hearing “Examining the Priorities of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service.” I discussed with Food and Nutrition Services Administrator Brandon Lipps how school meal reimbursement costs are set for the Marianas, since FNS does not include us in its food cost studies.

I also asked why the Department does not use its statutory authority to move the Marianas into the SNAP program, a move I have long advocated. I put $25.2 million for food aid in the disaster appropriation bill enacted this week and secured $32.5 million for the Marianas in the 2014 Farm Bill. As a result, more households are now eligible and benefits are at the SNAP level, but we would be on firmer footing for the long-term if the Marianas were in SNAP. I will be meeting again with Administrator Lipps to pursue this goal. Watch the video of my questioning here.