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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2011 Appropriations

Jim Monke, Coordinator
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

The Agriculture appropriations bill provides funding for all of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) except the Forest Service, plus the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in some cases, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Appropriations jurisdiction for the CFTC is split between two subcommittees—the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and the Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee.

Because no full-year FY2011 appropriation has been enacted, the government has continued to operate under continuing resolutions. To date, six short-term continuing resolutions have been enacted, with the most recent set to expire on April 8, 2011. House and Senate leadership continue to search for a compromise on the FY2011 appropriation. Under the continuing resolutions (most recently P.L. 112-6), the government is operating generally at FY2010 levels, although the two most recent continuing resolutions have begun to reduce FY2010 appropriated levels, including $532 million in reductions to agricultural accounts.

For the FY2011 Agriculture appropriations bill, no separate floor action and limited formal committee action occurred in the 111
th Congress. The full Senate Appropriations Committee reported an Agriculture appropriations bill (S. 3606, S.Rept. 111-221) on July 15, 2010. The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee marked up its draft on June 30, 2010, but the bill did not see full committee action nor was it reported. None of the 12 appropriations bills was enacted in 2010.

In the 112
th Congress, the House passed H.R. 1, a full-year continuing resolution for FY2011, by a vote of 235-189 on February 19, 2011. For Agriculture, H.R. 1 would make $5.3 billion in cuts to discretionary programs (-23%), reducing them from $23.4 billion in FY2010 to $18.1 billion for FY2011.

On March 9, 2011, the Senate voted on H.R. 1, but failed to pass it by a vote of 44-56. Later on March 9, 2011, the Senate also voted on a substitute amendment, S.Amdt. 149; it failed by a vote of 42-58. S.Amdt. 149 would have reduced discretionary Agriculture appropriations by $1.7 billion (-7%) from the FY2010 level of $23.4 billion to $21.7 billion.

Many of the reductions in H.R. 1 would return funding to near FY2008 levels or below. For example: discretionary Agriculture-related programs would fall to $6.44 billion, 12% below FY2010 and 3% below FY2008; discretionary conservation programs would fall to $857 million, 15% below FY2010 and 9% below FY2008; rural development would fall to $2.28 billion, 22% below FY2010 and 2.5% below FY2008; foreign assistance would fall to $1.28 billion, 39% below FY2010 and 13% below FY2008; and CFTC would fall to $112 million, 34% below FY2010 and nearly equal to FY2008.

In contrast, the Senate’s substitute amendment (S.Amdt. 149) generally would have made smaller cuts or held spending constant at FY2010 levels.

Date of Report: April 4, 2011
Number of Pages: 37
Order Number: R41475
Price: $29.95

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