HTML _ RL30201 - Appropriations for FY2000: U.S. Department of Agriculture and Related Agencies
6-Dec-1999; Ralph Chite; 30 p.

Abstract: The FY2000 appropriations bill (P.L. 106-78, H.R. 1906) for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and related agencies was signed into law on October 22, 1999. P.L. 106-78 contains regular (non-emergency) appropriations of $60.559 billion, which is $2 billion below the Administration request, but nearly $6 billion above the FY1999 level. Just over three-fourths ($46.57 billion) of the total amount in the act is classified as mandatory spending (primarily food stamps and farm programs funded through USDA's Commodity Credit Corporation), which in essence is governed by authorizing statutes and is out of the direct control of appropriators. The remaining spending of $13.988 billion is for discretionary programs, which require an annual appropriation. In addition to the regular appropriations, P.L. 106-78 provides $8.7 billion in emergency spending for farm income and disaster assistance, including $5.5 billion in direct payments to grain and cotton farmers and $1.2 billion in natural disaster assistance. An additional $576 million in farm disaster assistance, primarily in response to damage caused by Hurricane Floyd, is included in the FY2000 consolidated appropriations act (P.L. 106-113, H.R. 3194) signed into law on November 29, 1999. Controversial dairy policy provisions that were considered but not included in P.L. 106-78 are part of P.L. 106-113, including a 2-year extension of the Northeast dairy compact and a mandate that USDA adopt a milk pricing scheme for fluid farm milk that is close to current price levels. P.L. 106-113 also includes a 0.38% across-the-board cut in total discretionary budget authority for FY2000, which will require a $49 million cut within USDA and a $4 million cut in FDA programs, with specific cuts to be determined by the Administration. Exclusive of the FY2000 emergency spending provisions, most of the difference between the FY1999 and FY2000 enacted levels in P.L. 106-78 is explained by a $5.9 billion increase in the requested appropriation for the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC). The CCC is the funding mechanism for the commodity support programs and farm disaster assistance. It borrows directly from the Treasury and subsequently requests an appropriation for a reimbursement of its net losses. CCC spending was at a 12-year high in FY1999, because of a weak farm economy and regional natural disasters, and some $6 billion in supplemental spending approved by the Congress in FY1999 for emergency assistance to farmers. To stay within the measure's allocation for discretionary spending, P.L. 106-78 contains spending restrictions for several mandatory programs, including a new research program, certain conservation programs, and the Fund for Rural America. Separately, conferees deleted a provision in the House bill that would have prevented FDA from using any FY2000 funds for the approval of RU-486, or any other drug to induce abortion. P.L. 106-78 also does not include a Senate-passed provision that would have exempted the export of agricultural and medical products from current and future unilateral trade sanctions on Cuba and other countries. [read report]

Topics: Federal Agencies, Agriculture

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