Omnibus Spending Package Passes House and Senate

Clint Bain and Neil Burnette
December 22, 2020

Last night, Congress passed the COVID-19 Relief and Omnibus Spending package as anticipated.  They also passed a one-week Continuing Resolution through December 28th to allow time for procedural requirements to take place and obtain the President’s signature on the measure.  The Omnibus budget provides federal civilian employees a 1% across the board pay raise.  The bill also provides language that extends the deadline to repay deferred payroll taxes to the end of 2021 instead of next April.

The following bullet points highlight the Agricultural Appropriations funding affecting FSA employees:

  • Funding for FSA salaries and expenses increased by $22,824,000 over the 2020 enacted budget;
  • Funding for the Business Center increased by $11,774,000 over the 2020 enacted level; 
  • There was $15,000,000 earmarked for the hiring of new employees to fill vacancies and anticipated vacancies at county offices;
  • Funds made available to county committees shall remain available until expended;
  • Funding for Dairy Indemnity Program payments shall remail available until expended;
  • The final bill continues previous law provisions related to both the relocation of county-based employees and county office closures.

Legislative News Flash – Federal Appropriations and COVID-19

Clint Bain and Neil Burnette
December 21, 2020

The House of Representatives and US Senate announced agreement to provide additional COVID-19 assistance and the fiscal year 2021 appropriations measures.  We expect one additional continuing resolution providing the time needed to send these bills to the President’s desk.  We do not expect a government shutdown.

The COVID-19 assistance details are posted below for your review.  We will send a second update outlining the annual funding levels provided through the appropriations bill.

Covid-19 Agriculture Assistance – $13 billion total

  • $11.1875 billion for agriculture producers, growers, and processors
  • Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) payments for the 2020 crop year – option for 2018 and 2019 sales – (cattle included)
  • Up to $1 billion for livestock and poultry contract growers
  • $20 million to improve and maintain animal disease prevention and response capacity
  • May extend the term of a marketing assistance loan
  • No less than $1.5 billion to purchase food and agricultural products, including seafood
  • Up to $200 million to support timber harvesting and hauling businesses
  • May make payments to producers of advanced biofuel, biomass-based diesel, cellulosic biofuel, conventional biofuel, or renewable fuels with market losses due to COVID-19
  • May make recourse loans available to dairy product processors, packagers, or merchandisers
  • $100 million to support the Farm Bill’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program
  • $100 million for the Farm Bill’s Local Agriculture Market Program
  • $75 million for the Farm Bill’s Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program
  • $400 million to pay for milk to be processed into dairy products and donated to non-profit entities (food banks, feeding programs, etc.)
  • Establishes a Federal livestock dealer trust to ensure that livestock producers are paid for their animals
  • $60 million to make facility upgrade and planning grants to existing meat and poultry processors to help them move to Federal inspection
  • $28 million to be distributed as block grants to state departments of agriculture for use to support existing farm stress programs

*Additional funds were provided to domestic nutrition programs.

Continuing Resolution Vote

Clint Bain and Neil Burnette
NASCOE Legislative Co-Chairs
September 23, 2020

By a vote of 359 to 57, last night the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan stopgap continuing resolution to keep the government open through December 11, 2020.

The bill provides 30 billion in funding for the Commodity Credit Corporation to replenish depleted funds. Also included in the measure was nearly 8 billion for a variety of food nutrition assistance including funding to feed children affected by the pandemic that normally receive school lunches.

The deal was worked out between House Speaker Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin. The Senate is expected to schedule a vote on the bill prior to funding expiring on September 30th. The White House has indicated that President Trump will sign the bill.