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S. 1800 (114th): Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016

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The summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress, and was published on Jul 16, 2015.


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

Highlights:

The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016 provides FY2016 appropriations for the Department of Agriculture (USDA), except for the Forest Service; and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

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 funding for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies below FY2015 levels.

Compared to FY2015 levels, the bill:

increases funding for Rural Development, Foreign Assistance and Related Programs, and the FDA; and decreases funding for Agricultural Programs, Conservation Programs, and Domestic Food Programs. Also included in the bill are provisions that restrict funding for:

importing beef from Brazil and Argentina, the 2015 dietary guidelines, and horse slaughter facility inspections. Full Summary:

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2016

Provides FY2016 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; the Agricultural Marketing Service; the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration; the Office of the Under Secretary for Food Safety; the Food Safety and Inspection Service; the Office of the Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services; the Farm Service Agency; the Risk Management Agency; the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation Fund; and the Commodity Credit Corporation Fund. TITLE II--CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Provides appropriations for the Office of the Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment.

Provides appropriations to the Natural Resources Conservation Service for Conservation Operations.

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, including:

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 for the Foreign Agricultural Service, including the Food for Peace Act (P.L. 480) and the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program.

TITLE VI--RELATED AGENCY AND FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION

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

Provides appropriations to the Farm Credit Administration.

TITLE VII--GENERAL PROVISIONS

Sets forth permissible, restricted, and prohibited uses for funds provided by this and other appropriations Acts.

(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.

(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 upgrade 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. Requires the CIO to approve specified information technology projects.

(Sec. 707) Permits specified FY2016 funds provided under the Federal Crop Insurance Act for agricultural management assistance 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 up to $20 million of the unobligated balances from appropriations by this bill for salaries and expenses of the Farm Services Agency to remain available through FY2017 for information technology expenses.

Permits unobligated balances from appropriations by this bill for salaries and expenses for the Rural Development mission area to remain available for information technology expenses through FY2017.

(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 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.

(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 that exceed 30% of total federal funds provided under each award.

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

the Watershed Rehabilitation Program, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program. (Sec. 715) Limits funds for the following domestic food assistance categories: (1) Child Nutrition Programs Entitlement Commodities, (2) State Option Contracts, and (3) Removal of Defective Commodities.

Limits FY2016 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 the use of funds 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 in an amount that does not exceed 3% of the guaranteed principal portion of the loan.

(Sec. 719) Prohibits funds from being used to provide questions or responses to questions requested for the appropriations hearing process to anyone not employed by an agency funded by this bill.

(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 it includes clear notification that it was produced or funded by the agency.

(Sec. 721) Prohibits USDA employees from being detailed 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) Permits USDA to authorize a state agency to exceed the maximum amount of liquid infant formula that regulations permit to be issued to participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

(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) Directs USDA to: (1) continue the pilot program in effect for FY2013 for packaging and reviewing direct loans for single family rural housing, and (2) enter into additional agreements to increase the number of participating organizations to at least 10.

(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 acquisition of plant and capital equipment for USDA financial, administrative, and information technology services.

(Sec. 728) Appropriates funds for a pilot program to demonstrate new technologies that increase growth of re-forested hardwood trees on private nonindustrial forests lands on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

(Sec. 729) Prohibits the FDA from using funds for the rule entitled "Food Labeling; Nutrition Labeling of Standard Menu Items in Restaurants and Similar Retail Food Establishments" before December 1, 2016.

(Sec. 730) Permits USDA to respond to a community with inadequate drinking water supplies due to a natural disaster by providing potable water through the Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant Program for up to 120 days beyond the time period established in the program.

(Sec. 731) Provides appropriations to remain available until expended for implementing non-renewable agreements for wetlands preservation on eligible lands, including flooded agricultural lands.

(Sec. 732) Directs USDA to set aside specified additional funds for Rural Economic Area Partnership (REAP) Zones.

(Sec. 733) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans unless specified requirements regarding the reliance on scientific evidence and the scope of the guidelines are met.

(Sec. 734) Specifies the matching requirements that apply to funds appropriated for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

(Sec. 735) Permits USDA to receive access to certain information from federal tax returns to verify the income for individuals participating in loan programs under the Housing Act of 1949.

(Sec. 736) Permits USDA to charge a fee for lenders to access UDA loan guarantee systems in connection with participation in the loan guarantee programs of the Rural Housing Service.

(Sec. 737) Rescinds specified unobligated balances previously provided to USDA for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

(Sec. 738) Rescinds specified unobligated balances previously provided to USDA for the Rural Utilities Service.

(Sec. 739) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used 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.

(Sec. 740) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used 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 until a federal law is enacted to allow or require electronic distribution.

(Sec. 741) Provides specified funds to USDA for projects to provide access to healthy food in underserved areas, create and preserve quality jobs, and revitalize low-income communities.

(Sec. 742) Makes state agricultural experiment stations and state cooperative extension services eligible to enter into cooperative agreements with USDA to support the dissemination of objective, scholarly, and authoritative agricultural and food law research, legal tools, and information.

(Sec. 743) Prohibits funds provided by this bill from being used for the rules entitled "Importation of Beef From a Region in Argentina" and "Importation of Beef From a Region in Brazil" until USDA:

conducts a comprehensive risk evaluation of importing beef from Argentina and Brazil, updates a specified report on the economic impacts associated with the potential introduction of foot-and-mouth disease, and reports to Congress on the implementation of GAO recommendations regarding federal veterinarians and workforce needs for emergency response to an animal disease outbreak. (Sec. 744) Prohibits funds from being used to inspect horses for slaughter purposes.

(Sec. 745) Requires USDA to permit states to grant exemptions from whole grain requirements for the National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program that took effect on or after July 1, 2014.

Requires states to establish a process for responding to exemption requests, provided that school food authorities demonstrate hardship in procuring whole grain products compliant with new standards and comply with whole grain standards in effect prior to July 1, 2014.

Prohibits funds from being used to implement regulations requiring a specified reduction in sodium in federally reimbursed meals, foods, and snacks sold in schools until the latest scientific research establishes that the reduction is beneficial for children.