On June 20, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved their FY2014 Agriculture Appropriations Bill in a 23-6 vote. The Senate bill would provide $20.93 billion in discretionary spending, which is a $420 million increase from FY2013 levels. The bill text and committee report are unavailable at this time.
Below are highlights of a few key NACo priorities from the measures:
- Rural Water and Waste Disposal (loans and grants): The Senate bill would provide $1.734 billion and the House measure would provide $448 million. The program was funded at $1.5 billion in FY2013
- Rental Assistance: The Senate bill would provide $1.015 billion and the House bill would provide $1.012 billion. The program was funded at $1.12 billion in FY2013
- Single-Family Housing Direct Loan Program: The Senate measure would provide $900 million and the House bill would provide $820.2 million. The program was funded at $717 million in FY2013
- Value-Added Producer Grants: The Senate bill would provide $15 million and the House bill would provide $15 million. The program was funded at $13.8 million in FY2013
- Rural Micro-entrepreneur Assistance Program: The Senate measure would provide $1.4 million and no funding was provided in the House measure. The program was funded at $3 million in FY2013
It was determined by the House Rules Committee on June 25 that the Agriculture Appropriations Bill would be debated under open rule – as was the House farm bill – opening the floor to numerous amendments. While most bills see floor action within a few of days of exiting the Rules Committee, the House Agriculture Appropriations Bill – currently listed as TBD – will likely rest until after the July 4 holiday due to an already heavy floor schedule and hesitancy from leadership to push another vote on the heels of last week’s farm bill failure. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has also expressed concern over moving forward with an agricultural spending bill without first passing a long-term farm bill.
Following the House Rules Committee meeting on June 25, the White House issued a veto threat over the House agriculture spending bill, citing “harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable-energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, agriculture research and international food aid.”
For more information on these federal issues, contact Arthur Scott with the National Association of Counties (NACo) at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 942-4230.