'Kilili' pulls Gov. Torres' chain over food stamp money
Delegate Sablan says CNMI Governor Torres should feed citizens with $17.4 million surplus
"We have the money, let’s feed people," says CNMI Delegate to the U.S. Congress Gregorio Camacho 'Kilili' Sablan to his constituents in his online newsletter.
According to Sablan, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says the Commonwealth will have $17.4 million for food stamps, unused, at the end of 2021—even after the substantial benefit increases that began May 1 at his urging.
"This week, I asked Governor Ralph Torres to use those unused millions, now, to make more families eligible for food aid. The current income cap for a Marianas family of four is $17,412. Nationwide, the cap is $31,536. With all the unused money, the Governor could raise the Marianas income threshold to $25,000, if he wanted, and add another 2,000 households to the program. Retirees and others on fixed incomes would be helped. And almost all our families living below the federal poverty line could be covered."
"I have been able to increase the Marianas annual food stamp block grant from $10 million to $12 million per year," Sablan continued. "I got an additional $30.5 million in benefit money in the Agricultural Act of 2014. And I am working for more in this year’s farm bill. But getting the money from Congress is not enough, the Commonwealth has to give that money to the families who need it."
CNMI Governor Ralph Torres (left)