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tv   [untitled]    July 11, 2012 1:08pm-1:38pm EDT

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recognition on amendment number 77. we'll proceed with the vote. the question is on the amendment by the gentleman from florida, number 77, mr. rooney. all in favor signify by saying aye. all those opposed signify by saying no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do indeed have it. amendment 77. are there additional amendments to title number three? seeing no amendments. seeing no amendments. seeing no amendments. title number three is now closed. it is now in order to consider title number four. i ask unanimous consent that the explanation of the title be waived. seeing no objection. seeing no objection. the title is now open for amendment. are there amendments to title number four?
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>> chairman? >> your colleague got to you first. recognize the -- >> that's okay. >> i'm not going to -- i'm not going to get into a jousting contest. >> the gentleman will yield to the lady. that's very dignified. the chair now recognizes the lady from ohio for an amendment. >> it's amendment number 001. >> the clerk will distribute amendment number one. and the gentlelady may proceed with her explanation. recognized for five minutes. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to offer this amendment, and i will start, if it's okay, while they're passing it out. it's also supported by mrs. elmers from north carolina. mr. chairman, i frankly was aghast when i heard that some states are allowing s.n.a.p. recipients to claim medical marijuana expenses as a medical
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deduction in determining s.n.a.p. benefits. i believe this is a gross abuse of the intent of the excess medical cost deduction and there is no reason that medical marijuana should count as the medical expense. i appreciate the position that usda's food and nutrition service has taken in saying households may not take advantage of the s.n.a.p. medical deduction for the cost of any subsi tans that is illegl under federal law. this amendment is simple, it instructs the secretary to promulgate rules to ensure medical marijuana is not treated as medical expense for s.n.a.p. eligibility. it's outside the s.n.a.p. program for states to deduct medical marijuana expenses to inkre increase s.n.a.p. benefits. it has no business being used to calculate benefits for those who need s.n.a.p. assistance.
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i find this to be an egregious abuse of taxpayer dollars and encourage my colleagues to support this amendment and put an end to the practice. mr. chairman, before i yield back, i ask that a support letter from the organization, save our society from drugs, be entered in. the letter is at the clerk's table. >> no objection. the letter will be entered into the record. does anyone seek opposition on amendment number one. seeing no other requests for recognition. i support my colleague's dedication effort and suspect and would hope the committee will strongly support your efforts. with that, i yield back. any other requests for recognition? seeing none. you may get the gold star for amendments. all those in favor of amendment number one by the gentle lady, mrs. schmidt, will signify so by saying aye.
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>> aye. >> all those opposed signified by saying no. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes appear to have it. the ayes do indeed have it. amendment number one is adopted. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from illinois for what purpose, sir? >> thank you, mr. chairman. i have an amendment at the desk. >> the clerk, amendment number? >> 62. >> amendment number 62. the clerk will distribute it, and the gentleman is recognized for five minutes to explain his amendment when he's prepared. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as the amendment is being distributed, i think this is relatively noncontroversial. cost neutral. simply focuses dollars within the cfp, the community food project, to provide for comprehensive responses to local food, farm, and nutrition issues. sechblgly targets $5 million of the $15 million for incentive programs to encourage farmer's market participation, which by the way the underlying bill addresses quite well by lucas
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peterson language, extraordinarily beneficial and progressive in that regard. a lot of you i assume have seen what the double-up program is, and the whole purpose of this is to allow us to be able to leverage or match private donations to increase the amount spent by s.n.a.p. participants at farmer's markets. the basic premise of the underlying bill and this fairly simple and very noncontroversial amendment is that in at least in some cases, reason individuals are receiving assistance, they don't have jobs. part of the reason they don't have jobs, in some cases, because of less than good health. and in some cases, part of the reason is they have less than good health is dietary habits that we hope they can address. so this amendment is designed to address all the above. it's cost neutral, and i believe it's a very progressive amendment that i think everybody should agree to. and i move its adoption. >> gentleman yields back the balance of his time.
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does anyone seek recognition? the gentle lady from maine. what purpose do you seek recognition? >> i have an amendment at the desk. >> we're still on -- >> oh, i'm sorry. i'm sorry. >> still on mr. johnson. he wanted to seek recognition on this -- >> i'll be glad to do that since i accidentally -- >> the gentle lady is recognized to strike the last word. >> and i just want to thank my colleague on submitting this amendment. i think it's a very good idea. it's a good way to encourage more healthy eating amongst those people who have limited means and i want to thank him for introducing it and say that i'll be supporting this amendment. >> gentle lady yields back her balance of her time. seeing any additional requests for recognition? seeing none. seeing none. we'll now proceed to vote on amendment number 62 by the gentleman, mr. johnson. all those in favor signify by saying aye. >> aye. >> all those opposed signified by saying no. the ayes appear to have it.
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the ays appear to have. the ayes do have it. amendment number 62 is adopted. the chair now recognizes the gentle lady from maine. >> thank you, mr. chair. i have an amendment at the desk. >> gentle lady's recognized to discuss her amendment for five minutes. the amendment number is? >> 26. >> 26. clerk will distribute number 26. proceed when you are ready. >> thank you very much. and sorry for that slight amount of confusion there, but i appreciate your calling up this amendment. this is to allow participants in the s.n.a.p. program to also participate in community supported agriculture. i know that we're going to have a lot of controversial amendments about the amount of money we spend on s.n.a.p. benefits, but this one i hope is also a positive beneficial amendment here that addresses this same issue of how do we make sure that people who do
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have limited means are able to participate in farmer's markets and buying food locally and getting healthy food on their table? for those of you who -- i'm sure all of you have csa programs in your district. those, as i said, are called community supported agriculture. basically that means that someone puts the money into a till upfront and helps those farmers to know they'll have a certain amount of customers coming down the road and basically they get a box of food, whether it's once a week or once every other week, from a local farm. it means that the farm has money upfront. it's a little bit less that they have to borrow from the bank when they're purchasing seeds or making some of their initial purchases from the year. and it means that the purchasers know that they're going to have healthy food coming, whatever's fresh, from a local farm. in maine, the impact of this is about 180 farms currently participate in community-supported agriculture.
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that's 6,900 shares. and the number continues to go up. and i think nationally there's about 12,5 412,549, give or tak few, farms in the united states marketing their products this way. it's increasingly popular, and, again, it's a great way for s.n.a.p. recipients to make sure they can get fresh local food. currently under the rules of the program, there's no way for them to use their s.n.a.p. dollars to do this. so it's not possible. but it is a no cost provision. it would clarify the eligibility definition for the program so that it works better to do this. it allows greater flexibility in the use of benefits. and the amendment would still require csas to become certified by the usda and it also retains the prohibition that exists in current law from using s.n.a.p. benefits to pay for administrative or membership fees in cfas. so in my opinion it's good for the farmer.
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it allows them to have that many more customers. it means that people who do receive s.n.a.p. benefits -- we're going to argue about eligibility and amounts later. for those people who are eligible, they can have their money used to put some of the upfront costs into this program. there's no cost to the usda. it just clarifies the rules and regulations around it. i'll -- >> would the gentle lady yield? >> yes. >> for point of clarification. you mentioned, you used the phrase that these farmers will get their money upfront. would you explain that to me? does that mean they get some sort of advances from s.n.a.p. or actually get paid when they sell the food to the recipients? >> give me a minute here. >> is there some sort of advanced lending thing involved here? if it's a normal transaction, that's fine, i understand it. but i didn't understand, get their money upfront. >> under a normal csa program, the farmer is actually given their payment upfront. so as i said, it --
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>> upfront. what does upfront mean? >> when you subscribe to the program. say you sign up in the month of may and it will work from may through september. so you actually receive a payment of however much it's going to cost for that box of vegetables for the entire period, and that way the farmer knows they have their money and the participant's already paid for it. it allows the usda to modify their payment structure so that can occur. >> the boxes that aren't claimed each month, does the farmer refund that money to the program? >> let's see, if the boxes aren't claimed -- >> if they overestimated how many folks are going to come by, get a box, they have extra boxes but the farmer was paid 100%. >> it's one transaction between the individual and farmer. >> it's per person, not just a blanket. >> exactly. >> thank you, ma'am. >> in this provision, we allow
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the usda to make a change in the rules, to allow it to happen, to work through this provision in a way that they can clarify exactly the best way it would work, but it does allow what is becoming an increasingly popular program to have more subscribers who are of low income and who could be benefiting from buying food locally. i yield back the balance of my time. >> gentle lady yields back the balance of her time. the ranking member strikes the last word. >> i strike the last word. >> recognized for five minutes. >> chairman, i am a supporter of all kinds of agriculture including local foods. i just want to -- after that last discussion, i want to clarify something. as i understand it, this will kind of work like the farmer's market. i mean, situation. so in order for folks to access this with a s.n.a.p. card, these people are going to have to get
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an ebt machine and operate, you know, like a farmer's market, right? i mean, they're going to have to have a machine that they put their s.n.a.p. card in in order to get these benefits, right? >> yes. and just to clarify, the secretary will determine exactly how the benefit will occur, so the language merely allows the usda, the secretary, to write rules and regulations for exactly how this would occur, just as he did to allow ebt benefits at farmer's markets. >> right. so i think, you know, personally, i think it's a much better situation to have people buying fresh food and produce than going to a convenience store, myself. so, you know, i support this amendment. and it can make sense. yield back. >> does anyone else seek recognition on this subject? >> mr. chairman?
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>> the gentle lady seeks recognition to strike the last word? oh, we're still on the -- you have another amendment? okay. we'll proceed in just one moment. seeing no other recognition, i'd like to strike the last word and recognize myself. now that i've listened to this, i'm a little more con fufused t at the beginning. i suggest there may be great merit to the idea. i'd like to look at it more before we incorporate it as a five-year process, so i may reluctantly disagree with my colleagues and suggest that we oppose this amendment at this moment and think about this just a little bit before we launch into it. with that, i yield back the balance of my time. is there any other request for recognition? seeing none. we'll proceed to vote on amendment number 26 by the gentle lady from maine, miss pingree. all those in favor signify by
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saying aye. >> aye. >> all those opposed by signifying no. >> no. >> i may be tone deaf, but i am practical. the ayes do appear to have it. the ayes do appear to have it. the ayes do indeed have it. the amendment is adopted, ae amendment number 26. the floor is open. we'll go to gentle woman roby. >> mr. chairman, i have an amendment at the desk. >> what is the amendment number? >> it is amendment number 101. it's filed with the committee. >> so you're the infamous one. 101. the clerk will distribute that. the gentle lady may proceed, and before we begin, i would note to mrs. fudge that i failed to recognize the gentleman from massachusetts two rounds ago, so after mrs. roby, we'll go to mr.
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mcgovern. with that, the gentle lady may proceed with her amendment, number 101, whenever she's prepared. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this amendment would require that state agencies that issue s.n.a.p. benefits must verify through a mandatory process the immigration status of applicants who apply for such benefits. according to cbo, this amendment would result in savings to the government relative to hr-6083, although no official score is available at this time. specifically the amendment would require the use of some verification system such as the systemic alien verification for entitlements program, run by the u.s. immigration services to verify s.n.a.p. applicants. applicants for s.n.a.p. benefits must declare they're a u.s. citizen or eligible alien. currently state agencies accept applicants, declarations of u.s. citizenships merely at face value. this leads an opportunity for
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applicants to provide fraudulent social security numbers to receive benefits. however, programs like s.a.v.e. take three to five seconds to verify an applicant and reduce instances of fraudulent immigration documents. in particular, the inspector general of the usda highlighted this problem in march when they reported the general had completed a database analysis of five state agencies. findings showed 8,594 recipients of s.n.a.p. benefits were receiving benefits with potentially invalid social security numbers. many applicants in these five states were -- in five states received improper payments by using the social security numbers of deceased individuals or providing invalid social security numbers. under current law, complicates who declare they're eligible aliens must provide state age y agencies with identification. this amendment would require the
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sate agencies to use the identifying information on the documents provided by alien applicants to verify their immigration status. by requiring verification of immigration status, state agencies will be unlikely to improperly issue s.n.a.p. benefits to aliens that are not lawfully in the country. in doing so, it will eliminate yet another incentive for aliens to enter the country illegally. i want to reiterate that nothing in this amendment would prevent those eligible for receiving s.n.a.p., u.s. citizens or eligible aliens for receiving this benefit. it's important to note section 121 of the immigration reform and control act of 1986 as amended by the personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act of 1996 requires verification of citizenship and immigration status of applicants applying for many federal, state, and local public benefits. the illegal immigration reform and immigration responsibility act of 1996 requires the
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immigration and nationalization service, the ins, to respond to inquiries by federal, state, and local benefit issuing agencies and institutions seeking to verify or determine the citizenship or immigration status of any individuals within the jurisdiction of the agency for any lawful purpose. to do this, ins has been using the s.a.v.e. program since 1987. significant costs and claims for unentitled noncitizens have been avoided through benefit issuing agencies and institutions' participation in the s.a.f.e. program. there's nothing that requires the use of s.a.f.e. or similar programs. this amendment would do that in regards to s.n.a.p. program to ensure those receiving benefits are eligible to do so. i urge my colleagues to vote in favor of this amendment. and with that, mr. chairman, i yield back. >> the gentle lady yields back. the chair recognizes the
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gentleman, the ranking member. >> strike the last word. >> gentleman is recognized for five minutes. >> i'm going to support this amendment. i want to thank the gentle lady for her willingness to work with us on this issue. this is a reasonable approach we believe to an important problem. i thank the gentle lady, and i support the amendment. yield back. >> gentleman yields back. seeing no -- >> mr. chair? >> the gentleman from california, strike the last word? gentleman's recognized for five minutes. >> i appreciate the young lady bringing up this amendment. i understand that it's optional right now and it would be mandatory for each of the states to implement this. while i do have some concerns of some individuals that may be impacted, we all know that the current law right now states that no illegals can receive the s.n.a.p. or food stamps as it currently stands right now. my only concern is that if implemented how would it impact
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some of the individuals that may be citizens that live at home that may be impacted? and that's the only concern that i do have. and how it would be interpreted. i do appreciate the young lady working with us and trying to come up with a solution versus the other one that she has before us that i hope that she drops. then i would probably be able to say this might be a little bit better in allowing this to go through. and with that, i'm not committed at this point. >> the -- the gentleman, mr. sublon, what purpose to you seek recognition? >> mr. chairman, i vote to strike the last word. >> gentleman recognized for five minutes. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. let me make a good example of someone who's a u.s. citizen but doesn't have anything from usda as to prove citizenship. that's -- i'm speaking about
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myself here. i became a u.s. citizen and in others in my district by virtue of public law. we have no way to prove citizenship except with the use of a united states passport. now, a united states passport is issued by the department of state. there are many people in my district who have no such passport because they don't need to travel. so does that mean they would be denied an opportunity for a program that they're eligible for just because they can't have a document? because usda won't issue you a document unless you apply for naturalization for us, and we are not naturalized because we became citizens by virtue of a united states congress passed law. so how to we address those people in my district? and i yield to the gentle lady, miss roby. >> i appreciate you yielding,
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but in response to the previous question, this will be the only amendment -- i will not offer the other. so if that can earn your support, i certainly hope to do so. okay. and i yield back to you. >> well, i was asking question, in my case, for many people in my district who do not need to travel, who do not have a united states passport, how do they prove citizenship? this thing would make them ineligible for a program they are otherwise legally entitled to. i'm just asking a question. >> this amendment in comparison to the other that i filed says that you can use the s.a.v.e. or any other similar in order to -- in order to ensure that that person is entitled to the benefit. >> thank you. >> would the gentleman yield? >> in reclaiming my time, but
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there are no other -- just started in the northern islands in november of last year. and so -- >> would the gentleman yield? >> yes, i yield. >> i'm not -- i haven't followed this completely here, but miss roby had another amendment that had to do with the passports and so forth. she worked with us and that now is not being considered. and what now is worked out is using this system that's already been in place and is in place. it's an electronic system. so as far as i know, there's no passport situation anymore involved in this. it's the -- it's this electronic system which has already been implemented and used for the last 10 years, 15 years. something like that. so i think there was -- there was another amendment that had that passport situation in it,
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but it's not -- that's not what we're considering now. >> reclaiming my time, ranking member. i have no arguments. we should -- only those eligible for the program should be allowed in the program. but i come from a place where usda just established themselves november of last year where many people who are eligible who are u.s. citizens do not have any way of proving their citizenship unless they have a passport and many of them don't need a passport because they don't plan to travel. i'm just using this so i would -- i don't object to the intention of the program. i agree that only those eligible for the program should be allowed to the program. but i am a little concerned of this, and i -- i regrettably -- >> mr. chairman -- >> great reservation. >> mr. chairman, could we have
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usda respond to this concern? >> absolutely. yes, would our friends from the department provide some insight into this situation? once again, stating who you -- >> yes, mr. chairman. thank you. my name is david grine, associate general counsel at usda. in answer to your question, i believe the concern that has been raised is not necessarily applicable. and the reason is it does not operate the s.n.a.p. program but the n.a.p. program, a parallel program. since the amendment specifically applies to s.n.a.p., unless there was something else added, we would not necessarily apply this requirement to the n.a.p. program that we run on cnmi. at best, we might suggest usda that there could be some report language clarifying it to make sure we get it. the way we read the language
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today is it would not apply to the program in cnmi. is that helpful, mr. chairman? >> thank you very much. >> i'm out of time, mr. chairman. thank you. >> gentleman yields back the balance of his time. >> i yield back the balance of my time. >> is there additional requests for recognition on this subject? seeing none. we'll proceed. the gentle lady from missouri seeks recognition for what purpose? >> to inquire. >> strike the last word. absolutely. recognized for five minutes. >> i have a question, in reading this. in carrying out the s.n.a.p. program, a state agency shall require to use an income eligibility or an immigration status verification system. so are you saying if we pass this that a state could just set up an immigration verification system but not have an income and eligibility test as well?
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i guess i would yield to the lady -- >> it has to meet all the requirements. >> it has the word "or" in there. i was just wondering, is that correct? the line seven. >> i'm watching legal counsel read that language very carefully right now. >> well, if i still have the floor, i would just ask legal counsel if they would clarify. >> yes, ma'am. if you -- the language refers to income ineligibility or immigration status verification system established under section 1137 of the social security act. and if you turn to that act, it describes an income ineligibility verification system has to meet the requirements of subsection "d" of that section, and if you turn to subsection "d" it goes into the same immigration verification measures that
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you've been discussing recently that miss roby laid out. so i think that those terms, as defined in that act, include an immigration verification system. >> under the income eligibility as well? >> yes, ma'am. >> thank you for clarifying that. >> certainly. >> gentle lady from missouri -- >> i reclaim my time. could i just further inquire? just to make sure i understand, if a state does set up an immigration verification system, it still would have the income ineligibility as well, correct? >> i did not read the amendment to allow a state not to require s.n.a.p. participants -- >> that's part of what's required in the law right now. >> -- immigration verification system. >> mr. chair, if i may answer that, that is required in part of the law right now is the income before they can even receive any kind of s.n.a.p. or food stamps. that's currently in the law right now so it does not change that. >> and the chair thank

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