The House Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee focusing on agriculture programs approved its FY2011 allocations this week despite there not being a budget resolution to guide the appropriations process in either chamber.
The agriculture appropriations measure includes just over $23 billion in total discretionary spending, $204 million below the FY2010 level and $27 million below the request from the Obama Administration.
The Subcommittee has jurisdiction over funding for USDA, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and related agencies. While many programs of interest to wheat growers, including most farm safety net and conservation programs, are funded with mandatory money that is not allocated each year, other important programs, including research and market development programs, are part of the final discretionary figure.
This year, the Subcommittee provided $312 million for USDA’s cornerstone research grant program, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This represents an increase from the $262.4 million allocated in the final FY2010 appropriation and another step toward full funding at the 2008 Farm Bill-authorized level of $700 million. The AFRI money is also part of a total budget of $1.36 billion, a 1 percent increase, for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, its parent agency.
The McGovern-Dole food aid program was funded at $266.5 million, $57 million over the Administration’s request, 27 percent over the FY2010 funding, and 167 percent over the FY2009 appropriation of $100 million.
P.L. 480 Title II, the Food for Peace program, was funded at $1.69 billion, which was the Administration’s request and is the FY2010 funding level.
Other notable funding levels include:
- $68 billion, with a $5 billion reserve, for SNAP, the food stamp program. This represents a 17 percent increase worth nearly $10 billion. Subcommittee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) said one in eight adults and one in five children now receive food stamps.
- $7.1 billion for the Women’s, Infants, Children (WIC) program, 2 percent below last year.
- $19 billion for child nutrition programs, including the National School Lunch Program.
- $3.773 billion for FDA oversight work, approximately $214 million above FY2010 funding and a total of $535 million with user fees.
- $1 billion for the Food Safety Inspection Service.
- $261 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, equal to the Administration’s request.
Neither the House nor the Senate has passed budget resolutions this year, and it looks unlikely that either chamber will be able to garner the votes necessary to do so. Still, the current budget year ends Sept. 30, at which time new appropriations bills of some fashion will need to have been approved.
More details of the bill passed by the Subcommittee this week, including a summary chart comparing FY2010 enacted levels with the Administration request and the Subcommittee’s action, are available at http://appropriations.house.gov/.