November 4, 2011
On Thursday, November 3, a select group of members of the Senate and House Appropriations Committees met to negotiate final fiscal year 2012 (FY12) funding levels for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The Conference Committee is considering the FY12 agriculture appropriations bill as part of an appropriations “minibus,” which includes the Commerce-Justice-Science and the Transportation-Housing and Urban Development funding bills as well as the agriculture bill.
The conference began at 5:00pm yesterday but ended abruptly after only ten minutes of introductory statements when the House members left to vote on an unrelated bill. There are likely to be staff-level meetings today and over the weekend, with the conferees resuming their negotiations on Monday.
NSAC delivered a letter to the House and Senate conferees yesterday outlining our appropriations positions. In the letter, we voice our opposition to the major cuts contained in both the House and Senate bills, but also urge the conferees to reject any cuts deeper than those included in the Senate bill. We recommend an increase in the appropriation for direct farm ownership loans, given the very long waiting list in 2011, and strongly urge a rejection of any amendment that would prevent USDA from implementing the GIPSA (Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration) rule.
Categories: Budget and Appropriations