Summary: S.1603 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate without amendment (07/20/2017)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

Highlights:

This bill provides FY2018 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service which is included in the Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies appropriations bill.

It also provides appropriations for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Farm Credit Administration.

The bill includes both discretionary and mandatory funding. The mandatory funding levels are generally set by authorizing legislation such as the farm bill and are frequently limited in the agriculture appropriations bill.

The bill decreases discretionary funding for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies below FY2017 levels.

Full Summary:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2018

Provides FY2018 appropriations to the Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and related agencies.

TITLE I--AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for the following agricultural programs and services:

  • the Office of the Secretary;
  • Executive Operations;
  • the Office of the Chief Information Officer;
  • the Office of the Chief Financial Officer;
  • the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights;
  • the Office of Civil Rights;
  • Agriculture Buildings and Facilities;
  • Hazardous Materials Management;
  • the Office of Inspector General;
  • the Office of the General Counsel;
  • the Office of Ethics;
  • the Office of the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics;
  • the Economic Research Service;
  • the National Agricultural Statistics Service;
  • the Agricultural Research Service;
  • the National Institute of Food and Agriculture;
  • the Office of the Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs;
  • the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS);
  • the Agricultural Marketing Service;
  • the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration;
  • the Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety; and
  • the Food Safety and Inspection Service.

TITLE II

Provides appropriations for:

  • the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation,
  • the Farm Service Agency,
  • the Risk Management Agency,
  • the Natural Resources Conservation Service,
  • the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Fund, and
  • the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund.

TITLE III--RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for Rural Development Programs including:

  • the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development,
  • Rural Development Salaries and Expenses,
  • the Rural Housing Service,
  • the Rural Business--Cooperative Service, and
  • the Rural Utilities Service.

TITLE IV--DOMESTIC FOOD PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for the Office of the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services.

Provides appropriations to the Food and Nutrition Service for:

  • Child Nutrition Programs;
  • the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC);
  • the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps);
  • the Commodity Assistance Program; and
  • Nutrition Programs Administration.

TITLE V--FOREIGN ASSISTANCE AND RELATED PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations to the Office of the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs.

Provides appropriations for the Foreign Agricultural Service, including:

  • the Food for Peace Act (P.L. 480),
  • the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, and
  • the Commodity Credit Corporation Export (loans) Credit Guarantee Program Account.

TITLE VI--RELATED AGENCIES AND FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

Provides appropriations to the Department of Health and Human Services for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Provides appropriations to the Farm Credit Administration.

TITLE VII--GENERAL PROVISIONS

(Sec. 701) Permits USDA to use funds provided by this bill for the purchase, replacement, and hire of passenger motor vehicles.

(Sec. 702) Permits USDA to transfer unobligated balances to the Working Capital Fund for the acquisition of plant and capital equipment for financial, administrative, and information technology services. Permits the transferred funds to remain available until expended and specifies restrictions on the use of the funds.

(Sec. 703) Prohibits appropriations provided by this bill from remaining available for obligation beyond the current fiscal year unless the bill expressly provides otherwise.

(Sec. 704) Limits negotiated indirect costs on cooperative agreements between USDA and nonprofit institutions to 10% of the total direct cost of the agreement when the purpose of the agreement is to carry out programs of mutual interest between the two parties.

(Sec. 705) Permits appropriations for direct and guaranteed loans to remain available until expended to disburse obligations made in the current fiscal year for: (1) the Rural Development Loan Fund program account, (2) the Rural Electrification and Telecommunication Loans program account, and (3) the Rural Housing Insurance Fund program account.

(Sec. 706) Prohibits USDA from using funds provided by this bill to acquire or make significant upgrades to information technology systems without approval of the Chief Information Officer (CIO) and the Executive Information Technology Investment Review Board. Restricts the transfer of funds made available by this bill to the CIO without prior approval of Congress. Prohibits funds from being used for specified information technology projects without the approval of the CIO.

(Sec. 707) Permits specified funds provided under the Federal Crop Insurance Act for the Agricultural Management Assistance Program in the current fiscal year to remain available until expended to disburse obligations made in the current fiscal year.

(Sec. 708) Makes a former Rural Utility Service borrower that has repaid or prepaid a loan under the Rural Electrification Act of 1936 or any not-for-profit utility qualified to receive a loan under the Act eligible for rural economic development and job creation assistance in the same manner as a borrower.

(Sec. 709) Permits specified unobligated balances of appropriations provided by this bill for salaries and expenses of the Farm Service Agency and the Rural Development mission area to remain available through FY2019 for information technology expenses.

(Sec. 710) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for first-class travel by employees of agencies funded by this bill.

(Sec. 711) Provides that Commodity Credit Corporation funds authorized or required to be used for specified programs included in the Agricultural Act of 2014: (1) shall be available for salaries and administrative expenses associated with the implementation of programs without regard to allotment and transfer limits, and (2) shall not be considered to be a fund transfer or allotment for purposes of applying the limits.

(Sec. 712) Limits funds available for USDA advisory committees, panels, commissions, and task forces, except for panels used to comply with negotiated rulemaking or to evaluate competitively awarded grants.

(Sec. 713) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used to pay indirect costs charged against any agricultural research, education, or extension grant awards issued by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that exceed 30% of total federal funds provided under each award.

Permits funds provided by this bill for grants awarded competitively by NIFA to be used to pay full allowable indirect costs for specified research and development grants awarded under the Small Business Act.

(Sec. 714) Limits funds that may be used for the following programs:

  • the Watershed Rehabilitation Program;
  • the Environmental Quality Incentives Program;
  • the Biomass Crop Assistance Program; and
  • The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance Program.

(Sec. 715) Limits funds for the following domestic food assistance categories:

  • Child Nutrition Programs Entitlement Commodities,
  • State Option Contracts,
  • Removal of Defective Commodities, and
  • Administration of Section 32 Commodity Purchases.

Limits FY2018 funds for the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program that provides fruit and vegetables to students in participating elementary schools.

Prohibits USDA from using funds for payments authorized by Section 32 of the Agricultural Adjustment Act of 1935 to increase purchasing power of agricultural producers or for surplus removal or price support activities authorized by the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act.

(Section 32 is a program created to assist agricultural producers of non-price-supported commodities and is funded by a permanent appropriation of a portion of the previous year's customs receipts less certain mandatory transfers to child nutrition and other programs. This provision effectively prohibits the use of Section 32 for emergency disaster payments.)

Rescinds specified unobligated balances provided for domestic food assistance programs.

(Sec. 716) Prohibits funds from being used to prepare proposals for the President's budget that assume savings from certain user fee proposals without identifying additional spending reductions that should occur if the proposals are not enacted.

(Sec. 717) Sets forth procedures, requirements, and restrictions for reprogramming and transferring funds provided by this bill.

(Sec. 718) Permits USDA to assess a one-time fee for any guaranteed business and industry loan and limits the fee to 3% of the guaranteed principal portion of the loan.

(Sec. 719) Prohibits funds from being used to provide reports, questions, or responses to questions that are a result of information requested for the appropriations hearing process to anyone not employed by USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, or the Farm Credit Administration.

(Sec. 720) Prohibits any executive branch agency from using funds provided by this bill to produce a prepackaged news story for U.S. broadcast or distribution unless the story includes a clear notification that it was prepared or funded by the agency.

(Sec. 721) Prohibits USDA employees from being detailed or assigned from an agency funded by this bill to any other USDA agency or office for more than 60 days in a fiscal year unless the individual's employing agency is reimbursed by the receiving agency for the salary and expenses of the employee.

(Sec. 722) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used: (1) in contravention of a provision of the Agricultural Act of 2014 that permits an institution of higher education or a state department of agriculture to grow or cultivate industrial hemp for research purposes; or (2) to prohibit the transportation, processing, sale, or use of industrial hemp or seeds of such plant, that is grown or cultivated in accordance with the Agricultural Act of 2014, within or outside the state in which it is grown or cultivated.

(Sec. 723) Directs the agencies funded by this bill to submit spending plans to Congress.

(Sec. 724) Appropriates funds for direct reimbursement payments for geographically disadvantaged farmers or ranchers to transport agricultural commodities.

(Sec. 725) Requires USDA to continue an intermediary loan packaging program based on the FY2013 pilot program for packaging and reviewing section 502 single family direct loans. (The loan program assists low-income applicants in purchasing homes in rural areas. Funds may also be used to build, repair, or renovate a house, including providing water and sewage facilities.)

(Sec. 726) Permits USDA to increase the program level by up to 25% for certain loans and loan guarantees that do not require budget authority and have program levels established by this bill. Requires congressional notification prior to implementing any increase.

(Sec. 727) Provides that certain credit card refunds or rebates transferred to the Working Capital Fund: (1) shall not be available for obligation without congressional approval; and (2) shall only be available for the acquisition of plant and capital equipment for USDA financial, administrative, and information technology services.

(Sec. 728) Amends the Agricultural Act of 2014 (the 2014 farm bill) to designate cottonseed as a covered commodity beginning with the 2018 crop year. (Producers of covered commodities are eligible for USDA price and income support programs such as the Price Loss Coverage program.)

(Sec. 729) Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to extend certain USDA conservation programs through FY2019.

(Sec. 730) Specifies the matching requirements that apply to funds appropriated for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

(Sec. 731) Provides additional funds to remain available until expended for the Rural Energy Savings Program. (The program helps rural families and small businesses achieve cost savings by providing loans to consumers to implement durable cost-effective energy efficiency measures.)

Permits USDA to allow eligible entities to offer loans to customers in any part of their service territory and to offer loans to replace a manufactured housing unit with another manufactured housing unit, if replacement would be more cost effective in saving energy.

(Sec. 732) Sets forth the authorities that apply for USDA to provide loans for housing and buildings on adequate farms.

(Sec. 733) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for regulations to allow or require information intended for a prescribing health care professional, in the case of a drug or biological product, to be distributed electronically (in lieu of in paper form) until a federal law is enacted to allow or require electronic distribution.

(Sec. 734) Prohibits the FDA from acknowledging applications for an exemption for investigational use of a drug or biological product in research in which a human embryo is intentionally created or modified to include a heritable genetic modification. Provides that any submission is deemed not to have been received, and the exemption may not go into effect.

(Sec. 735) Prohibits funds from being used to carry out provisions of the final FDA rule titled "Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Food for Animals" with respect to certain requirements that apply to the production, distribution, sale, or receipt of dried spent grain by-products of the alcoholic beverage production process.

(Sec. 736) Provides appropriations for USDA to carry out a pilot program that provides forestry inventory analysis, forest management and economic outcomes modeling for certain currently enrolled Conservation Reserve Program participants.

(Sec. 737) Provides appropriations to remain available until expended for implementing non-renewable agreements for wetlands preservation on eligible lands, including flooded agricultural lands.

(Sec. 738) Prohibits the FDA from deeming partially hydrogenated oils to be unsafe or any food containing a partially hydrogenated oil to be adulterated prior to June 18, 2018.

(Sec. 739) Provides appropriations to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to remain available through FY2019 for a pilot program to provide grants to nonprofit organizations for programs and services to establish and enhance farming and ranching opportunities for military veterans.

(Sec. 740) Amends the Food Security Act of 1985 to exempt producers or landowners eligible to participate in any USDA conservation program from reporting requirements related to subawards, executive compensation, the Universal Identifier, and the System for Award Management.

(Sec. 741) Rescinds specified unobligated balances from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

(Sec. 742) Directs USDA to set aside specified additional funds for Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zones.

(Sec. 743) Permits USDA to charge a fee for lenders to access USDA loan guarantee systems in connection with participation in the loan guarantee programs of the Rural Housing Service.

(Sec. 744) Provides additional funds to USDA for loans and grants that are consistent with the Healthy Food Financing Initiative and that support projects to provide access to healthy food in underserved areas, create and preserve quality jobs, and revitalize low-income communities.

(Sec. 745) Provides appropriations to remain available until expended for a pilot program for USDA to award grants to non-profit organizations and public housing authorities to provide technical assistance to Rural Housing Service (RHS) multi-family housing borrowers to facilitate the acquisition of RHS multi-family housing properties in areas where there is a risk of loss of affordable housing. Requires the grants to be used to assist acquisitions by non-profit housing organizations and public housing authorities that commit to keep the properties in the RHS multi-family housing program for a period of time determined by USDA.

(Sec. 746) Requires USDA to establish a pilot program to permit state Farm Service Agency offices to make county-level payments to agricultural producers under the Agriculture Risk Coverage Program using an alternate calculation method if it is necessary to ensure that there are not significant yield calculation disparities between comparable counties in the state. Specifies requirements for the alternative calculation method and provides appropriations for the program.

(Sec. 747) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from be used for the variety requirements of the final USDA rule titled "Enhancing Retailer Standards in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)" until USDA amends the definition of "variety" to increase the number of items that qualify as acceptable varieties in each staple food category so that the total number of such items in each staple food category exceeds the number of such items in each staple food category included in the final rule.

Specifies that, until the amendments are promulgated, USDA must apply the requirements regarding acceptable varieties and breadth of stock to SNAP retailers that were in effect on the day before the enactment of the Agricultural Act of 2014.

(Sec. 748) Appropriates funds for the pilot program to demonstrate new technologies that increase growth of reforested hardwood trees on private nonindustrial forests lands on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

(Sec. 749) Provides appropriations to remain available through FY2019 to allow allied professional associations to develop a training program for school nutrition personnel that focuses on school food service meal preparation and workforce development.

(Sec. 750) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for a computer network unless pornography is blocked, with the exception of law enforcement, prosecution, or adjudication activities.

(Sec. 751) Prohibits the FDA from using funds provided by this bill to develop, issue, promote, or advance any regulations applicable to food manufacturers for population-wide sodium reduction actions or to develop, issue, promote or advance final guidance applicable to food manufacturers for long term population-wide sodium reduction actions until the dietary reference intake report with respect to sodium is completed.

(Sec. 752) Establishes a Working Capital Fund to be administered by the FDA. Specifies purposes and transfer authority for the fund.

(Sec. 753) Provides additional funds to APHIS to remain available through FY2019 for one-time control and management and associated activities directly related to the multiple-agency response to citrus greening.

(Sec. 754) Amends the Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act to increase from $5 million to $25 million the threshold for estimated federal construction costs for certain watershed projects that requires USDA to comply with certain congressional reporting and approval requirements.

(Sec. 755) Amends the Department of Agriculture Reorganization Act of 1994 to specify that the Secretary of Agriculture is required (instead of authorized) to establish in USDA the position of Under Secretary of Agriculture for Rural Development.

(Sec. 756) Requires funds made available for the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) to also be made available for the transporting of hay and livestock due to an eligible drought.

(Sec. 757) Specifies that, for the purposes of applying the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act , the acceptable market name of any salmon that is genetically engineered must include the words "genetically engineered" or "GE" prior to the existing acceptable market name.

Specifies that, during FY2018, the FDA may not allow the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food that contains genetically engineered salmon until the FDA publishes final labeling guidelines for informing consumers of the content.

(Sec. 758) Prohibits funds from being used to inspect horses for slaughter purposes.