House, Senate take action on agency funding, spending bill

Compiled by NAWG

House passes CR keeping government funded through November

On Sept. 18, 2019, House leadership finalized language for a continuing resolution (CR) that would extend existing agency funding through Nov. 21, 2019, averting a shutdown on Oct. 1, 2019. In its update to the states, the National Association of Wheat Growers (NAWG) noted that “leaders did include language to refill the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for funds spent through Sept. 17. It will also be required that USDA report to Congress by Oct. 31 on numerous things including estimates for all Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments in calendar year 2018 and 2019, as well as projected payments in 2020 from this year’s program that includes an estimate of payments on a state-by-state and commodity-by-commodity basis, as well as an analysis of the trade damage caused by retaliatory tariffs and separately by non-tariff trade barriers, including dumping, on U.S. farmers, and an accounting of any commodity purchases made from substantially foreign-owned companies/subsidiaries.”

On Sept. 19, 2019, the House Committee on Rules approved a closed rule for the CR and then later in the day the entire House passed the continuing resolution with a vote of 301-123.

Senate Appropriations Committee advances ag spending bill

On Sept. 19, 2019, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved the FY2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill by a vote of 31-0. The legislation, which will support federal agriculture and nutrition programs in FY2020, recommends $151.7 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding. The discretionary funding in the bill totals $23.1 billion, $58 million above the FY2019 enacted level.

There are a number important provisions included in the Senate Ag Approps bill, including several victories for NAWG’s priorities. In particular, the bill includes an increase for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative of $5.5 million, which would essentially bring total funding to the fully authorized level of $15 million. This is a big deal as Congress has not to date fully funded the program. Additionally, the bill includes a $1 million increase for the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, which was also one of NAWG’s main funding priorities for this year.