FY 2020 Agriculture Appropriations Updates

The Senate is currently debating its first “minibus,” H.R. 3055, which is a package of four FY 2020 appropriations bills that includes its version of the agriculture spending bill, S. 2522.

The House passed its version of the FY 2020 agriculture appropriations bill on June 25 as part of a five-bill spending package (H.R. 3055) on a 227-194 vote. Check out FRAC’s analysis comparing the FY 2020 House and Senate agriculture appropriations bills and read more information in the FY 2020 Appropriations section below.

Congress reaches FY 2020 Appropriations Deadline; Passes Short-Term Continuing Resolution

At this point in time, the House has passed 10 of its 12 appropriations bills (including agriculture), but the Senate still has only cleared its bills through committee. Congress must pass a short-term stopgap funding bill by the federal fiscal year deadline of September 30 to avert a government shutdown. On September 19, the House passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 4378, that would keep government programs funded through November 21. The Senate passed the CR on September 26, and the President signed it into law on September 27. The CR extends current funding levels through November 21 and averts a government shutdown.

Budget Deal Clears Congress

On August 1, the Senate passed H.R. 3877 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 on a 67 to 28 vote. The president signed the bill on August 2. H.R. 3877 will: increase non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion and defense discretionary spending by $22 billion in FY 2020; and avert automatic cuts (aka “sequestration”) to discretionary program cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which will expire in 2021. Now that top-line spending levels are set, Senate appropriators will work on bipartisan spending bills before the federal-fiscal-year-end deadline of September 30. The House has passed 10 of its 12 FY 2020 spending bills and has approved its remaining two bills in committee.

President Signs Disaster Relief Bill into Law

On June 6, after months of stalled negotiations, the President signed into law the disaster relief package H.R. 2157 (now Public Law 116-20), which will  provide much-needed relief to areas impacted by recent natural disasters, including U.S territories. The package contains an additional $600 million for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP — Puerto Rico’s block granted version of SNAP).

Explore These Topics

  • FY 2020 Appropriations
    At this point in time, the House has passed 10 of its 12 appropriations bills (including agriculture), but the Senate still has cleared only a handful of its bills through committee. Congress must pass a short-term stopgap funding bill by the federal fiscal year (FY) deadline of September 30 to avert a government shutdown. On September 19, the House passed a short-term continuing resolution (CR), H.R. 4378, that would keep government programs funded through November 21. The Senate passed the CR on September 26, and sent it to the President for his signature. The CR will extend current funding levels through November 21 and avert a government shutdown.

    The fiscal year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee on September 19. Unlike the House version, which would bar USDA from relocating staff and operations of USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside the National Capital Region, the Senate bill would provide funding for the moves to Kansas City. Also during the week of September 16, Senate Appropriations Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee Chairman Roy Blunt (R-MO) introduced a bill to fund programs under his panel’s jurisdiction.

    On August 1, the Senate passed H.R. 3877 – Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 on a 67 to 28 vote. The president signed the bill on August 2. H.R. 3877 will: increase non-defense discretionary spending by $27 billion and defense discretionary spending by $22 billion in FY 2020; and avert automatic cuts (aka “sequestration”) to discretionary program cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act, which will expire in 2021. Now that top-line spending levels are set, Senate appropriators will work on bipartisan spending bills before the federal-fiscal-year-end deadline of September 30. The House has passed 10 of its 12 FY 2020 spending bills and has approved its remaining two bills in committee.

    On June 25, the House passed its FY 2020 agriculture appropriations bill as part of a five-bill spending package (H.R. 3055) on a 227-194 vote. The agriculture appropriations bill was included in the package. Read FRAC’s analysis of the FY 2020 House agriculture appropriations bill.

    The House passed its first five-bill minibus that includes Labor-HHS-Education, H.R. 2740, on June 19 on a 226-203 vote.

    On May 8, the House Appropriations Committee approved its topline FY 2020 funding levels (known as 302b allocations) for its subcommittees, including $24.3 billion for discretionary (annual) spending for agriculture ($1.3 billion above the current level).

    Senate appropriators reportedly are waiting for a budget caps deal before moving on their FY 2020 appropriations bills. Congress must agree on a budget caps deal to avoid automatic cuts (also known as “sequestration”) to discretionary programs slated to take effect in FY 2020 pursuant to the 2011 Budget Control Act. For more information, click on “FY 2020 Budget” below.

    Track the FY 2020 appropriations process here.

  • FY 2020 Budget

    Congressional Budget

    Congress is not expected to take up a FY 2020 Budget Resolution this year. Although the Senate Budget Committee approved an FY 2020 Budget Resolution on March 28, it is not expected to move to the Senate floor, and the House is not expected to pass a Budget Resolution. Instead, Congress is expected to work on a budget caps deal, which Congress and the President must reach to avert deep cuts to non-defense and defense discretionary programs in FY 2020 and 2021 due to automatic cuts mandated by the 2011 Budget Control Act and tight funding limits.

    On April 3, the House Budget Committee approved H.R. 2021, the Investing for the People Act of 2019, which would raise budget caps for non-defense and defense discretionary (annual) funding in FY 2020 and 2021. The bill would increase non-defense spending to $631 billion for FY 2020 and $646 billion for FY 2021 and would increase defense spending to $733 billion for FY 2020 and $749 billion for FY 2021 (including Overseas Contingency Operations funding). The bill could move to the House floor as early as the week of April 8.

    For more on the importance of increased funding caps for non-defense discretionary programs, check out the Coalition on Human Needs’ report that outlines how funding for human needs programs has eroded from FY 2010 to FY 2019.

    President’s Budget

    On March 11 and March 18, President Trump released his top-line and detailed fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget proposals, respectively, which recycle many of the harmful proposals in the President’s previous budgets. The budget includes deep cuts to SNAP, child nutrition programs, afterschool programs, Medicaid, housing assistance, and other crucial programs for low- and moderate-income people.

    Resources:

    • FRAC’s statement and analysis of the proposed budget
    • Coalition on Human Needs’ “The Trump Budget: What You Need to Know” webinar recording (March 14). Speakers include Sharon Parrott, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities;  Deborah Weinstein, Coalition on Human Needs; and Ellen Teller, FRAC.

    Check out FRAC’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget and Appropriations Priorities.

  • FY 2019 Appropriations
    Annual funding for federal nutrition programs is provided through the agriculture appropriations bill. The agriculture appropriations bill is one of 12 appropriations (spending) bills that the House and Senate pass each year to keep government programs funded.

    On February 14, after months of continuing resolutions and a 35-day partial government shutdown, the House and Senate passed a bill (H.J.Res.31) to fund federal government operations through September 30. The President signed it into law on February 15.

    On June 6, after months of stalled negotiations, the President signed into law the disaster relief package H.R. 2157 (now Public Law 116-20), which will  provide much-needed relief to areas impacted by recent natural disasters, including U.S territories. The package contains an additional $600 million for Puerto Rico’s Nutrition Assistance Program (NAP—Puerto Rico’s block granted version of SNAP).

  • FY 2019 Budget
    On Monday, February 12, President Trump released his FY 2019 budget proposal. One key component: devastating proposed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that reflect a total disregard of the critical role SNAP plays as a first line of defense against hunger and poverty for tens of millions of Americans. Check out a statement from FRAC President Jim Weill. For a summary of proposed reductions to SNAP and an overview of how other critical nutrition and social safety net programs fare in the president’s budget, check out FRAC’s newly released analysis (pdf).
  • Refundable Tax Credits
    The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and the Child Tax Credit (CTC) are two of the federal government’s more effective methods in which to lift individuals and families out of poverty. In 2017, the EITC and CTC together lifted about 8.9 million people above the poverty line, including 4.8 million children. Both of these tax credits are refundable, meaning that they can reduce a filer’s tax burden to zero and any remaining amount is treated as a direct refund to the filer.

    Income thresholds for the EITC are dictated by marital status and number of children. The amount of the EITC depends on the filer’s income, the number of children, and marital status. In 2019, the EITC is worth a maximum of $6,557, but the EITC for childless workers is worth only $529.

    The CTC is worth up to $2,000 per child, and is partially refundable, up to a maximum of $1,400 in 2019.

    The EITC and CTC are critical anti-poverty programs and should be expanded. The Working Families Tax Relief Act, introduced on April 10, 2019 by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Dick Durbin (D-IL), and Ron Wyden (D-OR), would substantially expand the EITC and the CTC, bolstering the economic security of 46 million households.

Did You Know?

Every year, Congress is supposed to follow a similar schedule of events throughout the budget and appropriations process. However, in recent years, this process has not always been followed — but the general schedule remains the same.