Supplement to Comments on S.2352

B-207127: Published: May 13, 1982. Publicly Released: May 13, 1982.

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GAO supplemented their previous comments on proposed legislation to amend the Food Stamp Act of 1977 through the authorization of a State block grant option. Under the proposed bill, States would be given the option of continuing to operate the Food Stamp Program in accordance with the Act or operating a low-income nutritional assistance block grant. GAO believes that the period of notice which States must give when electing the block grant option may not be sufficient to enable all the necessary arrangements to be made. The legislation should be clarified to specify whether a State, after administering the block grant in a particular year, can elect to have the Secretary of Agriculture resume administration of the Program. GAO suggested that States electing the option be required to stay on that program for a specified number of years before returning to the regular Food Stamp Program. Use of a letter-of-credit arrangement and the provision of funds as the need arises would be less costly than requiring the Secretary to pay each block grant State the total allotment of funds for a fiscal year as soon as the amount has been determined. The legislation is not clear as to whether funds allotted to the block grant States may be used to finance administrative costs. Finally, GAO suggested clarification of the proposed bill's audit provisions to: (1) identify the type of audit as a financial and compliance audit, (2) identify the standards that apply in making such audits as the standards established by the Comptroller General for the audit of governmental programs, (3) provide the option of making financial and compliance audits of entities that administer the food assistance block grant, and (4) address the obligations of the Secretary to provide oversight of program expenditures.

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