House lawmakers began debating bills on Wednesday to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration. Politico’s Morning Ag Report says the funding would be for all of the fiscal year 2018 and be part of a package of eight government spending bills. The ag appropriations bill would set aside $20 billion in discretionary funding for the USDA and FDA. That’s $1.1 billion lower than last year but still, over $4 billion more than President Trump requested in his budget. By voice vote, the House adopted more than a dozen amendments to their ag appropriations bill. Most of the amendments would increase spending on certain USDA programs. One amendment would reverse proposed cuts to the Natural Resources Conservation service and actually increase funding by $5.6 million. Another amendment would restore almost a half million dollars to the USDA loan program to address rural broadband infrastructure. The ag appropriations bill is part of a larger package that includes controversial funding ideas for other departments. That means the Senate, which would need to have Democratic votes, likely won’t agree to what the House is expected to advance.
From the National Association of Farm Broadcasting News Service.