The Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies bill provides $134.2 billion in discretionary and mandatory budget authority for fiscal year 2012. Discretionary BA totals $17.3 billion and the appropriated BA also includes entitlement spending of $116.9 billion – largely for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The spending levels in the bill do not exceed the 302(b) allocations adopted by the Appropriations Committee, which are in aggregate within the overall spending level approved by the House in the Budget Resolution (H. Con. Res. 34).
The measure provides funding for food assistance programs, such as the Women, Infants and Children (WIC), Commodity Assistance Program, and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Additionally, it provides funding for the FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Key elements include the following:
Rural Development. The bill provides $2.1 billion for rural development programs – a decrease of $338 million from last year’s level and $109 million below the administration’s FY12 request. The bill provides funding for rural economies, fully funding direct operating loans for rural businesses at $1.05 billion. It also funds direct farm ownership loans at $475 million, equal to the administration’s request. The legislation provides for $7.3 billion in loan authority, $500 million below last year, for basic utilities loans. $890 million is provided in rural rental assistance, $63 million below the enacted level.
Food and Nutrition Service. The bill provides $6.05 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Programs for Women, Infants and Children (WIC). This represents a decrease of 10% from the recently enacted 2011 Full-Year Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1473). While this is a significant reduction, the estimates for participation and food costs in the WIC program have declined from their original estimates.
Food and Drug Administration. The bill provides $2.17 billion for the Food and Drug Administration. This represents a decrease of 21% from the Administration’s request and a 12% decrease from the 2011 enacted level. The bill targets for reduction less essential services and overly burdensome rulemaking processes while preserving sufficient funding for the FDA’s core mission: keeping our food and drug supply safe.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The bill reduces the CFTC’s budget by 15% to $172 million. To support Dodd-Frank’s expansion of the agency, the President’s budget would increase the CFTC’s budget by $105 million, a nearly 50 percent increase in this regulatory agency’s budget in one year.
Changes in Mandatory Program Spending (CHIMPS). The Agriculture Appropriations bill has for many years included several CHIMPS – or Changes in Mandatory Program Spending. CHIMPS are typically limitations on the discretionary funding used to implement mandatory programs. Through these limitations, the Appropriations Committee reduces mandatory spending in the budget year and those reductions are credited towards the appropriations bill for the purposes of determining compliance with their section 302(b) allocation under the budget resolution. This year’s bill includes CHIMPS that reduce budget authority by $1,992 million in FY2012, and $1,337 million between FY2012-FY2021. One CHIMP included in HR 2112 would have the effect of eliminating eligibility for certain agricultural subsidy programs for persons having an adjusted gross income over $250,000. Other CHIMPS would limit the acreage that can be enrolled in certain conservation programs, reduce the availability of funding for trade adjustment assistance for farmers, and eliminate funding for the Brazil Cotton Institute.