oversight

Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service: Food Stamp Program--Food Stamp Provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-09-17.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office                                Office of the General Counsel
Washington, DC 20548



          B-283573


          September 17, 1999

          The Honorable Richard G. Lugar
          Chairman
          The Honorable Tom Harkin
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
          United States Senate

          The Honorable Larry Combest
          Chairman
          The Honorable Charles W. Stenholm
          Ranking Minority Member
          Committee on Agriculture
          House of Representatives

          Subject: Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Service: Food Stamp
                   Program: Food Stamp Provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997

          Pursuant to section 801(a)(2)(A) of title 5, United States Code, this is our report on a
          major rule promulgated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition
          Service (FNS), entitled “Food Stamp Program: Food Stamp Provisions of the
          Balanced Budget Act of 1997” (RIN: 0584-AC63). We received the rule on
          September 3, 1999. It was published in the Federal Register as an interim rule on
          September 3, 1999. 64 Fed. Reg. 48246.

          The interim rule implements two food stamp provisions of the Balanced Budget Act
          of 1997. The first provision provides state agencies the authority to exempt from the
          food stamp time-limit at section 6(o)(2) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 up to 15
          percent of the state’s caseload that is subject to the requirement. The second
          provision provides additional funding for administration of Food Stamp Employment
          and Training programs. These two provisions enhance state flexibility in exempting
          portions of a state agency’s caseload from the food stamp time limit and increase
          significantly the funding available to create work opportunities for recipients that
          are subject to the time limit.

          Enclosed is our assessment of the FNS’ compliance with the procedural steps
          required by section 801(a)(1)(B)(i) through (iv) of title 5 with respect to the rule.
          Our review indicates that the FNS complied with the applicable requirements.


                                                                                      GAO/OGC-99-66
If you have any questions about this report, please contact James W. Vickers,
Assistant General Counsel, at (202) 512-8210. The official responsible for GAO
evaluation work relating to the subject matter of the rule is Larry Dyckman, Director,
Food and Agriculture Issues. Mr. Dyckman can be reached at (202) 512-5138.

Sincerely yours,




Robert P. Murphy
General Counsel

Enclosure

cc: The Honorable Shirley R. Watkins
    Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition,
     and Consumer Services
    Department of Agriculture




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                                                                          ENCLOSURE

        ANALYSIS UNDER 5 U.S.C. § 801(a)(1)(B)(i)-(iv) OF A MAJOR RULE
                              ISSUED BY THE
                     DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE,
                     FOOD AND NUTRITION SERVICE
                                 ENTITLED
            "FOOD STAMP PROGRAM: FOOD STAMP PROVISIONS
                 OF THE BALANCED BUDGET ACT OF 1997"
                             (RIN: 0584-AC63)

(i) Cost-benefit analysis

The cost-benefit analysis conducted by FNS shows that the amendments
incorporated in the interim rule will increase Food Stamp Program expenditures by
$1.4 billion over the next 5 years.

The benefits include the ability of state agencies to exempt from the time limits an
additional 15 percent of the state’s caseload subject to the requirement. It will also
increase the funding available to state agencies to create work opportunities for
recipients subject to the time limit.

(ii) Agency actions relevant to the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 603-605,
607, and 609

FNS has certified that the interim rule will not have a significant economic impact on
a substantial number of small entities.

(iii) Agency actions relevant to sections 202-205 of the Unfunded Mandates Reform
Act of 1995, 2 U.S.C. §§ 1532-1535

The interim rule does not impose either an intergovernmental or private sector
mandate of over $100 million in any one year, as defined by the Unfunded Mandates
Reform Act of 1995.

(iv) Other relevant information or requirements under acts and executive orders

Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.

The interim rule was issued as an exception to the notice and comment procedures
of 5 U.S.C. 553. The Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services
has determined, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553 (b)(3)(B), that public comment on the rule
prior to implementation is impracticable and that good cause exists for making the
rule effective less than 30 days after its publication. This determination, according to
the rule’s preamble, was necessitated by the required effective date contained in the
1997 amendments to the Food Stamp Act of 1977.


                                                                           GAO/OGC-99-66
However, public comments are solicited in the interim rule and will be considered in
the publication of the final rule.

Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. §§ 3501-3520

The interim rule contains information collections that are subject to review by the
Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork Reduction Act of
1995.

The interim rule’s provisions required revision of the previously approved collection
entitled “Employment and Training Program Report,” which was approved through
September 30, 2001, by OMB based on revised burden estimates.

Statutory authorization for the rule

The interim rule was issued pursuant to the authority of sections 1001 and 1002 of
the Balanced Budget Act (Pub. L. 105-33) and 7 U.S.C. 2011-2036.

Executive Order No. 12866

The interim rule was found to be an “economically significant” regulatory action and
was reviewed and approved by the Office of Management and Budget as complying
with the Order.




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