2007 Farm Bill: Description of the House Agriculture Committee Nutrition Provisions
November 2, 2007
On July 27, 2007, the House of Representatives passed its 2007 Farm Bill: H.R. 2419, The Farm, Nutrition, and Bioenergy Act of 2007. The nutrition provisions include about $4 billion over five years in improvements for the Food Stamp Program and the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), as well as numerous program oversight, reauthorization, and technical provisions.
The most significant nutrition provisions in the House bill that make up the $4 billion over five years in estimated cost include:
- The minimum standard deduction that households of 1 to 3 members receive (75 percent of food stamp households) would increase from $134 to $145 in 2008 and would be indexed for inflation in later years. The standard deduction for these households has been frozen since 1995, resulting in cuts of $24 a month in 2008 for a typical working family. The change would provide a typical family an additional $5 a month in 2008, rising to $11 a month by 2012. (Section 4006: 5-year CBO cost, $2.180 billion.)
- The $10 minimum benefit, which goes overwhelmingly to people who are elderly or have a disability and has not been adjusted for inflation in 30 years, would increase to $16 and would be increased for increases in food prices in later years. (Section 4013: 5-year CBO cost, $243 million.)
- The dependent care deduction would no longer be capped, so that working households that pay for child care could deduct the full amount of costs they incur in order to work. (Section 4007: 5-year CBO cost, $249 million.)
- The food stamp resource limits, which have been frozen since 1986 at $2,000 for most households and $3,000 for households with members who are elderly or disabled, would begin to be adjusted for inflation, to encourage savings. (Section 4008: 5-year CBO cost, $60 million.)
- Tax-preferred retirement accounts and education accounts would no longer be counted as resources, removing the current disincentive for working households to save for retirement and education. (Section 4009 and 4010: 5-year CBO cost, $572 million.)
- The funds for commodity purchases for TEFAP under the Food Stamp Program would be increased from $140 million each year to $250 million in 2008 with adjustments for increases in food prices in later years. (Section 4028: 5-year CBO cost, $606 million.)
This description of the bill’s nutrition provisions are organized based on their section number in H.R. 2419. Information on the number of people affected and increased benefits in each State are provided in tables at the end of the report.
 The total estimated outlays for food stamps and TEFAP are $3.9 billion over five years. See the table at the end of the report for detail. The overall farm bill was designed to meet the budgetary requirements of the House’s pay-as-you-go rules, which require that provisions that increase entitlement costs or reduce revenues be fully offset by reducing the costs of other entitlements or increasing revenues.