Senate and House Agriculture Committees Approve Farm Bills

Posted on: May 17th, 2013 by NADO Admin

This week, the Senate and House Agriculture Committees advanced their respective Farm Bills out of committee. The bills will now head to the floor of the respective chambers for further consideration and debate. Senate agriculture leaders are aiming for bill consideration on the Senate floor before Memorial Day weekend. House leadership has included debate of the 2013 Farm Bill on the legislative calendar for either late June or early July.

If the House and the Senate hold to the current schedule, there will be enough time for the two chambers to negotiate a compromise in conference committee and pass a final bill before September 30, when the current 2008 Farm bill extension expires.

 Highlights of the Senate Farm Bill (S. 954) include:

·         Delta Regional Authority reauthorized until 2018

·         Northern Great Plains Regional Authority reauthorized until 2018

·         Northern Border Regional Commission reauthorized until 2018

·         Southeast Crescent Regional Commission reauthorized until 2018

·         Includes $23 billion in spending cuts by eliminating subsidies and consolidating USDA programs

·         Provides rural development initiatives to help rural communities in upgrading infrastructure, extend broadband internet availability, and create a better environment for small businesses

Click here to view the full legislative text. Click here (http://agriculture NULL.house NULL.gov/markup/consider-2013-farm-bill) for more information on S. 954.

Highlights of the House Farm Bill (H.R. 1947) include:

·         Delta Regional Authority reauthorized until 2018.

·         Northern Great Plains Regional Authority reauthorized until 2018

·         Saves nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of $6 billion

·         Repeals or consolidates more than 100 USDA programs

·         Includes reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), $20 billion in reductions

·         Includes regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face

 Click here (http://agriculture NULL.house NULL.gov/sites/republicans NULL.agriculture NULL.house NULL.gov/files/farm%20bill/HR1947FARRM2013 NULL.pdf) to view the full legislative text. Click here (http://agriculture NULL.house NULL.gov/markup/consider-2013-farm-bill) for more information on H.R. 1947.

 NADO Supported Amendments to S.954:

·         Sen. Brown (D-OH) USDA Rural Development Priorities (passed)

Provides USDA-Rural Development with the flexibility necessary to support and finance locally-identified economic development priorities. This amendment will facilitate funding for projects that are part of a strategic economic and community development strategy by enabling USDA-RD to reserve through June 30th of each fiscal year up to 20% of funds for key programs.

NADO Supported Amendments to H.R. 1947:

·         Rep. McIntyre (D-NC) – Mandatory Spending to Address Water and Wastewater Backlog at USDA (failed)

Restores $50 million in mandatory funding to help address the $3.2 billion backlog in rural water/wastewater projects. These projects are essential to economic development efforts in rural communities.  The backlog was funded at $120 million in mandatory funding in the 2008 Farm Bill.  This funding was eliminated in the House mark-up and the amendment would have restored a portion of this funding.

 

·         Rep. McIntyre (D-NC) – Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (failed)

Restores farm bill funding for this rural development program in order to continue to provide low-interest loan capital to small rural businesses that aims to generate economic activity and rebuild rural communities.

 

·         Rep. McIntyre (D-NC) – Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training (passed) 

Provides technical assistance and project planning to rural communities to strengthen local economies and save rural jobs.  This no-cost measure would allocate a small portion of existing funding under USDA-RD Essential Community Facilities loan and grant program for technical assistance, management training, and financial planning for rural towns.

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