Ag Programs Advance in Appropriations

Congress will likely consider another continuing resolution this month to fund federal farm programs.

Congress has a few days left to complete the 2020 appropriations process before a continuing resolution expires. R.J. Karney, American Farm Bureau Federation congressional relations director, says the House and Senate are still working on spending levels for agriculture.

“The good news right now is both the House and Senate have passed—in both chambers—a fiscal year ’20 agricultural spending bill,” said Karney. “In the House, the total allocation was $24.3 billion in discretionary funding, and in the Senate, it was total allocation of $23.1 billion in discretionary funding.”

Karney says the differences in the bills include relocation funds for USDA agencies and stress assistance for farmers.

“In the House, there’s a prohibition on USDA’s relocations of ERS to Kansas City, while in the Senate, there’s no prohibition,” he said. “Additionally, there’s a Farmers Stress Assistance Network and the House allocates $10 million while in the Senate there’s a $3 million allocation.”

A continuing resolution currently funding the government expires November 21. Karney expects lawmakers will need to pass another continuing resolution.

“All indications are that there will be another continuing resolution to keep the government open past November 21,” said Karney. “House and Senate leadership are currently discussing how long this next continuing resolution should be. It could be as early as December 2019—there’s also talk of pushing it until February 2020.”

Karney said there’s even a possibility of a full year-long resolution that will go to September 30, 2020.

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