On Jan. 17, President Obama signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014, a bill that would fund the federal government for Fiscal Year 2014 at an overall level of $1.012 trillion, an increase of $45 billion in comparison to FY 2013 levels, post sequestration. The omnibus includes all 12 of the federal appropriations bills that fund various programs throughout the government. Of the 12 spending bills, four (Interior/Environment, Energy/Water, Transportation, and Agriculture) are relevant to the issues covered by the NRI Committee. To read more from the National Conference of State Legislatures click here.
Last week, Congress passed the FY 2014 omnibus appropriations bill to fund the government for the remainder of the fiscal year. the completion of the omnibus is a very significant step toward shifting from repeated continuing resolutions to regular order. The bill increases funding for the Value-Added Producer Grants program, the local and regional food enterprise set aside within the Business and Industry guaranteed loan program, and direct farm ownership and direct operating loans. Unfortunately, it provides no discretionary funding for the Rural Microenterprise Assistance Program. This program has received no money in any of the past three appropriations bills, and is one of the “stranded programs” as a result of Congress’s inability to pass a farm bill. To read more on the 2014 omnibus from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, click here.