HOUSE COMMITTEE APPROVES FY10 AGRICULTURE SPENDING BILL

News Date: 06/22/2009

The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY10 agriculture appropriations bill on June 18 which provides $22.9 billion in discretionary funding for USDA and agriculture programs. The committee action was initially delayed by the busiest voting day in House of Representatives history. The spending bill provides $79 million less than the administration’s budget request, but provides $2.3 billion more than the FY 09 spending bill.

The committee approved an amendment offered by Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) that prohibits the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from requiring the mandatory reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from manure management systems. The agency is currently establishing a greenhouse gas emission registry, which is a key step to developing and implementing a cap-and-trade system. Another amendment offered by Rep. Todd Tihart (R-KS) was approved that would ban EPA from imposing Clean Air Act regulations for carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from livestock biological processes. However, the exact amendment language is still being developed.

An amendment offered by Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) failed by one vote and would have blocked the EPA from considering the impact of land-use changes and international indirect land use when calculating the greenhouse gas emissions from biofuel production. EPA’s "indirect emissions" considerations are being strongly opposed by the ethanol industry. However, an amendment was adopted to require the USDA to review the EPA’s indirect land use change analysis.

The National Animal Identification System (NAIS) will not receive any funding until the nation-wide listening sessions have concluded and an appropriate solution has been devised. Country of Origin Labeling (COOL), on the other hand, will be fully funded. However, USDA is prohibited to allow questionably unsafe poultry products into the U.S. from China.

Food and Nutrition programs still will receive the most funding increases to programs such as Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) with $7.54 billion, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) with $61.35 billion, and International Food Aid with $1.69 billion. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was appropriated $2.99 billion and USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would be funded at $1.02 billion.

Rural Development was appropriated $2.83 billion, including funds to help house families, invest in rural businesses and support new community facility infrastructure. Conservation programs, such as the Resource Conversation and Development Program and the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Programs will be provided $980.3 million. Oversight and Enforcement programs such as the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) will be provided $160.6 million and Livestock Competition $23.7 million. The full House is scheduled to consider the bill on July 9. (Contact: Kasey Miller or Nathan Bowen)