The U.S. House plans to vote soon on a large package of spending bills, including the fiscal 2020 agriculture appropriations bill. The House Appropriations Committee recently sent the ag spending bill to the full House on a party-line vote. House Ag Appropriations Subcommittee chair, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, talks about the bill’s $24.3 billion in discretionary spending.
“The bill provides nearly $4 billion for rural development programs, including $680 million for broadband programs, to continue bridging the digital divide between urban and rural America,” said Bishop. “Through a time of great uncertainty, due to tariffs and natural disasters, this bill provides $1.8 billion dollars for farm programs, including $30 million to assist the implementation of the 2018 farm bill.”
The bill includes $38 billion for rural housing and water utilities, $3.3 billion for ag research, $829 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, full Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Women, Infants, and Children Program funding, and the same for international feeding programs. The proposal, meanwhile, prevents closing of county Farm Service Agency offices, and takes a swipe at a controversial U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agency relocation effort.
“It prohibits the use of funds for any relocation costs, associated with the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture,” says Bishop.
But the two parties parted company on USDA efforts to modernize hog slaughter inspection. Democrats seek review of data behind the proposal and on the bill’s busting spending caps 4 percent above existing spending.
The House could vote by Friday or next week on the bill. The Senate has yet to advance its own ag spending bill for fiscal year 2020.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters