Source: Politico Pro
September 30, 2021
“Lawmakers in both chambers on Thursday passed a stopgap bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 in a last-day move to avoid a government shutdown. The continuing resolution was approved just hours before federal funding for fiscal year 2021 expires, after Democrats scrapped language to extend the looming debt limit — a provision that prompted Senate Republicans to block a previous version of the bill. Congressional approval sends the measure to President Joe Biden’s desk, where he is expected to sign it this evening.
What’s in it for ag: Beyond extending funding and avoiding a government shutdown, the bill would also: Seek to ensure USDA can meet the demand for farm ownership loans and continue to provide loans that expand economic opportunity in rural areas; Seek to ensure USDA can continue its livestock price reporting system; Allocate $10 billion to USDA to cover losses of crops, trees, bushes and vines from natural disasters in 2020 and 2021, in addition to $275 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection Program; Provide $28.6 billion to help communities recover from recent hurricanes, wildfires and droughts that have affected broad swaths of the country…Allow the Food and Nutrition Service to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in Women, Infants and Children food packages; Extend multiple environmental reclamation programs that are set to expire. Why it matters: The funding extensions come after much of the West faced the brunt of extreme wildfires, heat and drought. Farmers across California, Washington and Oregon are facing increasing damage to crop quality and availability due to low water levels and high smoke levels…In a moment of bipartisan solidarity, House Agriculture ranking member G.T. Thompson (R-Penn.) applauded collaboration with his Democratic counterpart Chair David Scott (D-Ga.) and others in ensuring disaster relief provisions were prioritized…What’s next: The bill now heads to Biden’s desk where he is expected to sign this evening.”