The conference committee deliberating the bills containing agriculture appropriations, among others, came to an agreement last night. The agreement funds through the end of FY2012 the Departments of Commerce, Justice, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, in addition to the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
USDA, FDA and related agencies will receive a total of $136.6 billion, $19.8 billion of which is discretionary. The discretionary total is $350 million less than FY2011 and $2.5 billion lower than the President's request. Among the notable funding areas, the conference agreement provides $98.6 billion for food and nutrition programs, $2.5 billion for FDA, $2.5 billion for agricultural research, $1 billion for food safety and inspection programs and $844 million for conservation.
Attached to the bill, which was filed Monday evening, is a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the government operating until December 16th, by which time Congress will have to have passed the remainder of appropriations bills or another CR. The House is expected to vote on the appropriations package Thursday and the Senate is expected to follow suit on Friday. The current CR expires Friday. (Contact: Brad McKinney)