House Passes USDA Funding Bill, but White House Opposes it

Source: By Jerry Hagstrom, DTN Political Correspondent • Posted: Sunday, July 26, 2020

The House of Representatives on Friday passed a spending bill for USDA's annual appropriations, but the White House has raised several objections to the bill. It's unclear at this point whether the Senate will vote on a similar bill before the November election. (DTN file photo by Nick Scalise)
The House of Representatives on Friday passed a spending bill for USDA’s annual appropriations, but the White House has raised several objections to the bill. It’s unclear at this point whether the Senate will vote on a similar bill before the November election. (DTN file photo by Nick Scalise)

The House on Friday passed a minibus of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills including the Agriculture bill but the White House Office of Management and Budget said the administration is opposed to the overall bill and cited some provisions in the Agriculture section.

The vote was 224-189, with seven Democrats including House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., joining the Republicans in voting against it. Seventeen Republicans did not vote.

The Senate has not acted on appropriations bills, and it is unclear whether the House and Senate will finish the appropriations process or pass a continuing resolution to fund the government until after the election or next year.

The White House said Thursday the Trump administration “strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 7608, making appropriations for the Department of State, foreign operations, and related programs; Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs; Department of the Interior, environment, and related agencies; and military construction, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and related agencies for the fiscal year (FY) ending September 30, 2021 and for other purposes.”

In a statement of administration policy from the Office of Management and Budget, the administration cited among other top concerns a provision to “stop historic welfare reforms at the Department of Agriculture” and in the section on USDA said it was referring to “sections 733 and 734 of the bill that would bar the implementation of priority Welfare Reform regulations on work requirements for Able-bodied Adults Without Dependents (ABAWDs) and the modernization of the Standard Utility Allowances (SUAs).”

OMB added, “Such provisions would degrade the ability of USDA to move more families forward, provide equitable treatment across state lines, and effectively target program resources to households most in need. This is particularly concerning as the ABAWD rule moves work-capable adults toward and into employment while providing appropriate flexibility based on local circumstances.”Perhaps in recognition of the fact that the Senate has not acted on appropriations bills and that final legislation would require Senate-House agreement, the statement did not threaten a veto but concluded, “The administration looks forward to working with Congress to address these concerns as the FY21 appropriations process moves forward.”

FAS Office in Chengdu, China, to Close by Monday
The U.S. consulate in Chengdu that the Chinese government said today must close includes a Foreign Agricultural Service post.

China has insisted on the closure of the Chengdu consulate in retaliation for U.S. demands that China close its consulate in Houston.

A spokesperson for FAS said in an email, “FAS is coordinating with our U.S. government colleagues to close our Agricultural Trade Office in Chengdu by the Monday morning deadline, and we are working to ensure continued coverage of the region via our offices elsewhere in China.”

FAS maintains agricultural trade offices in Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Shenyang as well as a policy office in the embassy in Beijing.

Jerry Hagstrom can be reached at jhagstrom@nationaljournal.com

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