Ag Spending Bill Approved by Senate

Ag Spending Bill Approved by Senate

Bill keeps energy grant program; cuts NAIS funding.

The Senate approved a $124.5 billion ag spending bill on Tuesday by a vote of 80 to 17. The House passed its version in July.

 

As Senators debated agriculture spending on Monday they broke with the President who wanted to eliminate the agriculture department's High Energy Cost Grant Program. This program provides money for electricity generation projects in places such as Indian reservations, rural cooperatives and, especially, Alaska. The Senate voted 55 to 41 to keep the program alive and help people in rural areas receive reasonably priced electricity. The $18 million program made it onto Obama's roster of 75 recommended cuts or eliminations of so-called discretionary programs funded by Congress each year, totaling $11.5 billion.

 

The Senate also agreed to scale back funding for a National Animal Identification System. Senators slashed funding from $14.6 million to $7.3 million and directed that money be devoted only to proposed rule making, rather than to implementation. The House had eliminated all funding for the program for the next fiscal year.

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