Ove the past few weeks you have seen information regarding the federal budget, CR’s and what is likely to happen. With the last CR extension about to run out last Friday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) introduced H.J. Res. 48, a continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government for an additional three weeks, until April 8. The current CR expires on Mar. 18. The bill will be on the House floor this week.
The third CR is needed because the House and Senate continue to be unable to agree on a spending bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. The House passed H.R. 1 on Feb. 19 to cut $60 billion in spending from current levels over the remaining seven months of FY 11. On Mar. 9, the Senate voted down the House version of H.R. 1 and defeated its own version that would have cut $6 billion from current levels.
The three-week CR will cut an additional $6 billion of spending from current levels. For a complete listing of program cuts, go here.
Program Cuts and Terminations
The three-week CR trims $3.5 billion by eliminating 25 programs, including the following of interest to agriculture:
- Climate Effects Network – Science Application (U.S. Geological Survey): -$10.5 million for a program to “provide data for forecasting the effects of climate change”;
- Greenhouse Gas Cap and Trade Funding (EPA): -$5 million for EPA to assist Congress in enacting the Cap and Trade legislation; and
- Local Government Climate Change Grants (EPA): -$10 million for competition for grants for local governments.
The three-week CR eliminates $2.6 billion in earmark account funding including the following USDA programs:
- -$24 million – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service – Salaries and Expenses;
- -$37 million – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) – Conservation Operations;
- -$30 million – NRCS – Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations;
- -$3 million – Rural Community Development Grants;
- -$3 million – National Center for Natural Products;
- -$3 million – Agricultural Pest Facility;
- -$10 million – Various Agricultural Grants;
- -$115 million – Agriculture Research Service;
- -$122 million – National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – Research and Education; and
- -$11 million – NIFA – Extension.
The agriculture appropriations portion of the CR provides funding for a wide array of federal agricultural programs, mostly within USDA. These programs include: agricultural research; education and extension activities; natural resources conservation programs; food safety, marketing and inspection activities; rural economic and community development activities; telecommunications and electrification assistance; and various export and international activities of the USDA.
Debate on this CR is going to prove to be very interesting because new GOP members of Congress have expressed displeasure with GOP leadership over continued short term budget extensions. The debate is going to prove intersting!