The House Appropriations Committee recently advanced its ag spending bill for the fiscal year 2021. The bill establishes spending limits for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission The bill authorizes $23.98 billion in total discretionary spending, an increase of two percent from 2020 spending levels.
“Our bill touches every American’s life, which is why we rejected the Administration’s proposed massive cuts that would be truly cruel during the pandemic,” House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Chairman Sanford Bishop, Jr said in a press release. “We built on the four COVID-19 supplemental bills Congress passed this spring by providing funding increases for our rural communities, vulnerable populations, and essential workers—while continuing important investments in rural and farm production programs, agriculture and medical research initiatives, international aid, and nutrition. I am pleased the full Committee worked together in a bipartisan way to support Americans in this difficult time.”
The legislation includes $1.07 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, of which $15 million will be used for the cotton pest program. Nearly $38.2 million will be made available for Animal Health Technical Services. More than $4.2 million is designated for information technology infrastructure and nearly $199 million will be used for addressing specialty crop pests.
Funding support for rural broadband would also be increased by $435 million from the 2020 level. The bill allocates nearly $1.1 billion for rural broadband, which includes $990 million for the USDA’s ReConnect program and more than $1 million for the Rural Broadband Loan and Grant Program.
The ag spending bill also provides $68.2 billion in required mandatory spending for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which includes $3 billion for the program’s reserve fund. The bill will also block rules that would significantly impact eligibility for the program. The bill includes language that will block the Able-Bodied Adults Without Dependents final rule and the Standard Utility Allowance proposed rule.