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Monday, August 15, 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.

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 have made $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.

On April 15, 2011, a final, full-year continuing resolution was enacted as Division B of the Department of Defense appropriation, P.L. 112-10. Seven short-term continuing resolutions (CRs) were enacted in between, some with spending reductions, to prevent a government shutdown before the final agreement was reached for the full-year continuing resolution.

P.L. 112-10 provides $19.9 billion of discretionary funding for Agriculture appropriations, a 15% reduction (-$3.4 billion) from FY2010 levels. Mandatory appropriations for farm programs and domestic nutrition increased a net 7% to $105.1 billion. Thus, the total Agriculture appropriation (mandatory plus discretionary) for FY2011 is $125.0 billion, 3% greater than FY2010.

Discretionary agriculture-related programs fell to $6.89 billion, 6% below FY2010; discretionary conservation programs fell to $889 million, 12% below FY2010; rural development fell to $2.64 billion, 11% below FY2010; discretionary nutrition assistance fell to $7.13 billion, 7% below FY2010; and foreign assistance fell to $1.89 billion, 9% below FY2010. FDA increased to $2.46 billion, 4% above FY2010, and CFTC increased to $202 million, 20% above FY2010.

Cuts to individual agricultural agencies’ operating budgets would have been even bigger had it not been for usually large amounts of rescissions of unobligated prior-year balances and limitations on mandatory farm bill programs. Of the $3.4 billion total reduction in discretionary appropriations from FY2010, about half of the cut was the increase in the amount of rescissions and farm bill limitations.

Date of Report: July 29, 2011
Number of Pages: 36
Order Number: R41475
Price: $29.95

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