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FY1998 USDA Budget and Appropriations: Domestic Food Programs

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Publication Date: November 1997

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: 97-927

Topic: Social conditions (Public welfare and social services)


The conference agreement on FY1998 agriculture appropriations (H.R. 2160) provides a total of $37.2 billion in budget authority for domestic food assistance programs. These include the food stamp program, child nutrition programs, the special nutrition program for women, infants and children (WIC) and commodity donation programs. Conference agreement funding for these programs is $2.6 billion less than the total budget authority requested by the Administration. The major areas of disagreement were how much to increase funding for the WIC program, and how much to set aside as reserve funds for food stamps and WIC. Total budget authority recommended by the Administration and the Congress for FY1998 is less than was provided for FY1997 ($40.5 billion). In part this is because of better economic conditions, but more significantly, it is because FY1998 is the first full year reflecting the impact of the food program eligibility and benefit restrictions enacted under the 1996 welfare law. (See Endnote 1.) The House approved the appropriations conference agreement on October 6. The Senate approved it on October 29, and it was submitted to the President on November 6. As of this report's date, it had not been signed, but there is every expectation that it will be.