HTML _ 97-361 - Appropriations for FY1998: U.S. Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies
9-Dec-1997; Ralph Chite

Abstract: The President signed into law the FY1998 appropriations act for USDA and related agencies (P.L. 105-86, H.R. 2160) on November 18, 1997. The House and Senate gave final approval to the $49.55 billion measure on October 6 and 29, respectively. Two days after signing the bill, the President exercised his line-item-veto authority by canceling funds for five agricultural research projects, for total savings of $1.9 million. Congress has 30 calendar days to disapprove the cancellations, once it returns in late January 1998. The FY1998 measure provides $3.6 billion less than the FY1997 Act, which is $2.8 billion below the Administration request for FY1998, close to the House-initially passed level of $49.45 billion, and nearly $1 billion below the Senate-passed level. Most of the difference between FY1998 and FY1997 funding requirements is accounted for by lower funding needed for food and nutrition programs resulting from changes made by the 1996 welfare law. Among the major provisions in P.L. 105-86 are: a new appropriation of $188.6 million for sales commissions to private insurance companies participating in the federal crop insurance program. (Full-funding level was $202.5 million); a 2.2% increase in funding for Conservation Operations, compared with an Administration-requested increase of 16.5% over FY1997. Funding and acreage enrollment in the Conservation Reserve Program was unaffected; a $150 million cap on the non-appropriated Export Enhancement Program, which recognizes $159 million in savings for FY1998; an increase in spending above both the House- and Senate-proposed levels for the rural development mission of USDA, albeit less than the Administration request; concurrence with a $100 million food stamp contingency reserve provided in the House-passed bill, compared with $1 billion in the Senate version. Conferees also agreed to an increase in WIC program spending, but less than the Administration request; $1.9 billion for the research and education mission of USDA, an amount that is higher than the Administration request and the House- and Senate-passed bills; rejection of the Administration request for new FDA general user fees and full funding of an FDA initiative to curb underage tobacco consumption. [read report]

Topics: Agriculture

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