The Senate began debate Thursday evening on the FY2010 agriculture appropriations bill, and votes on the bill will begin Monday.
On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a cloture motion to end debate on a substitute amendment to the bill, which would replace the House-passed version with a Senate version. A vote on that motion and a vote to end debate on the bill itself are scheduled for Monday evening.
The bill would provide $23.7 billion in discretionary funding to USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and other related agencies, an increase of $2.3 billion or 11 percent above 2009 levels and $100 million more than the amount requested by the Obama Administration. More than 80 percent of the bill’s funding will go to food stamps and other mandatory programs.
Notable funding increases in the bill include a 25 percent increase for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which funds farm programs, and a significant funding boost for international food aid programs. PL 480, Title II, also known as Food for Peace, and the McGovern-Dole program would see an increase of 43 percent from 2009, totaling $1.9 billion.
Other increases include a 12 percent increase over 2009 levels for school breakfast and lunch programs, totaling $16.8 billion, and a 15 percent increase for FDA.
The Senate bill also includes $3.5 million to speed efforts to develop Ug99-resistant wheat varieties and $1 million for wheat genetic research at Kansas State University.
For more on this process, please visit the Senate Appropriation’ agriculture subcommittee online at http://appropriations.senate.gov/agriculture.cfm