The appropriations process made strides in both chambers this week as Members aim to have all 12 bills finalized by the end of the federal government’s fiscal year, Sept. 30 – a rarity in recent years.
The House passed its FY2010 agriculture appropriations bill with five amendments on Thursday by a 266-160 vote. The bill included $22.9 billion in discretionary spending, an 11 percent increase over FY2009, though the vast majority of the bill’s spending is mandatory.
Two of the amendments – to add funding for an Economic Research Service report on the effects of pending free trade agreements and an increase in funding for the Natural Resources Conservation Service – are of particular interest to the wheat industry.
Importantly, the bill also:
- maintained full funding for the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. Two MAP-related amendments were ruled not in order.
- contained $1.69 billion, $464 billion above the FY2009 appropriation, for food aid under PL 480, Title II;
- included $67.3 million for Farm Service Agency information technology; and
- rejected conservation program cuts requested by the Obama Administration.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its agriculture appropriations bill without amendments by a 30-0 vote. The bill as passed contains about $23.696 billion in discretionary spending and $100.848 in mandatory spending, constituting a 12.3 percent increase, accounted for in large part by mandatory domestic food assistance spending.
The bill also included full funding for both MAP and FMD as well as report language offered by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) expressing strong support for the MAP structure.
For food aid programs, the bill included:
- $1.69 billion for PL 480, Title II, identical to the House version;
- $199.5 million for the McGovern-Dole program, identical to the House version; and
- $13 million for USDA to assist in development work in countries with chronic food shortages. Funds were also provided for research and development of new food aid products, along with instructions to the Secretary on actions to improve food aid efficiencies.
In the Senate Appropriations Committee’s FY2010 financial services mark-up, Sen. Byron Dorgan successfully offered an amendment to clarify payment terms with respect to trade with Cuba. Identical language was also included in the House bill.
For more on the House process, please visit http://appropriations.house.gov/
For more on the Senate process, please visit http://appropriations.senate.gov/