Congressman Faleomavaega announced that both the House and the Senate have agreed to the conference report accompanying H.R. 2419. On May 14, 2008, the House passed the conference agreement by a vote of 318 to 106 and the next day, the Senate passed the conference agreement by a vote of 81 to 15. H.R. 2419, or the Farm Bill Extension Act of 2007, extends the existing programs authorized under the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 that was passed during the 107th Congress. This reauthorization provides for the food stamp programs in both American Samoa and Puerto Rico through Consolidated Block Grants.
“I am pleased that both the House and the Senate have unanimously passed the accompanying conference report for the ‘farm bill,’” Congressman Faleomavaega said. “This legislation is important given that it would continue the necessary funding for the food stamp programs in both American Samoa and Puerto Rico.”
“Because the funding for these programs was scheduled to expire March 15, Congressman Fortuno of Puerto Rico and I wrote a joint-letter to the Committee on Agriculture expressing our serious concerns of the impacts it would have on both territories if it were not extended. Given that many of our residents receive assistance through this program, it is necessary for Congress to reauthorize our funding.”
“In the conference report, the block grant that funds our local food stamp program is reauthorized until 2012 with funding indexed for inflation. For example, American Samoa will receive about $6.5 million to fund its current program for fiscal year 2008. For FY 2009, American Samoa will receive about $6.7 million because of inflation due to the rising cost of food prices. I must reiterate the importance of this funding because it will provide for the blind, disabled, elderly, and our high number of low-income households in American Samoa,” said Congressman Faleomavaega.
“Although President Bush has announced that he will veto this important legislation, the Congress is hopeful that with the unanimous strong support of both the House and the Senate, we will be able to override the possible veto.”
“Again, I want to thank Chairman Collin C. Peterson and Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte of the House Committee on Agriculture and Chairman Tom Harkin and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry for their support of our vital food stamp program,” Congressman Faleomavaega concluded.