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S. 2163 (113th): A bill to establish an emergency watershed protection disaster assistance fund to be available to the Secretary of Agriculture to provide assistance for any natural disaster.

The text of the bill below is as of Mar 26, 2014 (Introduced).


II

113th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2163

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 26, 2014

(for himself and Mr. Bennet) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry

A BILL

To establish an emergency watershed protection disaster assistance fund to be available to the Secretary of Agriculture to provide assistance for any natural disaster.

1.

Emergency watershed protection disaster assistance fund

(a)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Emergency watershed protection program

The term emergency watershed protection program means the emergency watershed protection program established under section 403 of the Agricultural Credit Act of 1978 ( 16 U.S.C. 2203 ).

(2)

Fund

The term Fund means the Emergency Watershed Protection Disaster Assistance Fund established by subsection (b).

(3)

Natural disaster

The term natural disaster means—

(A)

a natural disaster declared by the Secretary under section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act ( 7 U.S.C. 1961(a) ); or

(B)

a major disaster or emergency designated by the President under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act ( 42 U.S.C. 5121 et seq.).

(4)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(b)

Establishment

There is established in the Treasury of the United States a fund to be known as the Emergency Watershed Protection Disaster Assistance Fund, to be administered by the Secretary to carry out activities under the emergency watershed protection program.

(c)

Purpose and availability of fund

(1)

In general

Subject to subsection (d), amounts in the Fund shall be available to the Secretary, until expended, to provide additional amounts for authorized activities described in subsection (b) in areas affected by a natural disaster.

(2)

Maintenance of funding

Amounts in the Fund shall supplement (and not supplant) other Federal funding for natural disasters.

(d)

Directly appropriated amounts

Amounts appropriated directly to the Fund by this Act or any subsequent Act for a specific purpose shall be available only for that purpose until such time as the transfer authority provided by subsection (f) takes effect with regard to the amounts.

(e)

Transfer of prior appropriations to fund

(1)

In general

The Secretary may transfer to the Fund, and merge with other amounts generally appropriated to the Fund, the available unobligated balance of any amounts described in paragraph (2) if, in advance of the transfer, the Secretary

(A)

determines that the unobligated amounts are no longer needed to respond to the natural disaster for which the amounts were originally appropriated; and

(B)

provides a certification of that determination to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

(2)

Amounts

(A)

In general

Amounts described in this paragraph are amounts for the emergency watershed protection program that—

(i)

except in the case of funds described in subparagraph (B), remain unobligated as of the date of enactment of this Act; or

(ii)
(I)

are made available under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (division A of Public Law 113–2 ; 127 Stat. 4); and

(II)

are not necessary to fulfill any eligible request for the funds made in accordance with that Act.

(B)

Emergency designations

(i)

Emergency Designation for Statutory PAYGO

This subsection is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to section 4(g) of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010 ( Public Law 111–139 ; 2 U.S.C. 933(g) ).

(ii)

Emergency Designation for Congressional Enforcement

In the Senate, this subsection is designated as an emergency requirement pursuant to sections 403(a) and 423(b) of S. Con. Res. 13 (111th Congress), the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2010.

(3)

Certain funds

(A)

Preliminary deposit

Not later than 30 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall transfer to the Fund all amounts described in paragraph (2)(A)(ii) that are in excess of amounts requested in applications received by the Secretary on or before April 18, 2014, in accordance with the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act, 2013 (division A of Public Law 113–2 ; 127 Stat. 4).

(B)

Final deposit

As soon as practicable after the Secretary has made final determinations on all applications described in subparagraph (A), the Secretary shall transfer to the Fund all remaining unobligated amounts described in paragraph (2)(A)(ii).

(f)

Transfer of other appropriations to fund

(1)

In general

Unless otherwise specifically provided in an appropriations Act, the Secretary may transfer to or within the Fund, and merge with other amounts generally appropriated to the Fund, the available unobligated balance of any amounts that are appropriated for fiscal year 2014 or any subsequent fiscal year for the emergency watershed protection program to respond to a natural disaster or are designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement if, in advance of the transfer, the Secretary

(A)

determines that the unobligated amounts are no longer needed to respond to the natural disaster for which the amounts were originally appropriated; and

(B)

provides a certification of that determination to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

(2)

Timing

A transfer of unobligated amounts with respect to a natural disaster may not be made under this subsection until after the end of the 2-year period beginning on the date on which the amounts were originally appropriated for that natural disaster.

(g)

Availability of funds

Amounts transferred into the Fund under this section shall be available to the Secretary for obligation without further appropriation.

(h)

Administrative expenses

In addition to any other funds available to the Secretary to cover administrative costs, the Secretary may use up to 3 percent of the amounts allocated from the Fund for a specific natural disaster to cover administrative costs of the State and local offices of the Department of Agriculture in the areas affected by the natural disaster to carry out disaster-related activities.

(i)

Limitation on per disaster obligations

(1)

In general

Amounts in the Fund, except for amounts described in subsection (d) that are appropriated to the Fund and obligated in accordance with that subsection, may not be obligated in excess of $1,000,000 for a natural disaster until at least 15 days after the date on which the Secretary notifies the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the determination of the Secretary to obligate additional amounts and the reasons for the determination.

(2)

Specific and extreme need

The Secretary may not obligate more than 50 percent of the amounts in the Fund for any 1 natural disaster unless the Secretary declares that there is a specific and extreme need for additional funds to be provided in response to that natural disaster at time of the obligation.

(j)

Quarterly reports

The Secretary shall submit, on a quarterly basis, to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report describing the status of the Fund and any transactions that have affected the Fund since the previous report.