FY 2021 Funding Through December Approved by House and Senate
The U.S. House of Representatives approved H.R. 8337, Continuing Appropriations Act, 2021, and Other Extensions Act of 2020, which will fund the federal government programs starting October 1st through December 11th. The decision was approved through a 359 to 57 vote and led to the avoidance of a government shutdown. Later, the Senate passed the act with an 82 to 6 vote.
The Continuing Resolution adds funding for veterans, healthcare, nutrition, and farm relief programs while also allowing agencies to spend what is needed to prevent furloughs and layoffs of employees. Concerning farming, “Section 119: Agricultural Credit Insurance Fund Program” will ensure that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) can fully meet the demand for Direct and Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans, particularly for beginning and disadvantaged farmers. “Section 173: Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) Reimbursement” allows the CCC to be replenished for net losses sustained and not reimbursed as of September 17, 2020, to make required farm assistance and other payments.
The Continuing Resolution was not supported initially, though. Leading up to the vote, House and Senate Democrats and Republicans were at odds over the specifics of the act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R. KY) stated on Twitter, “House Democrats’ rough draft of a government funding bill shamefully leaves out key relief and support that American farmers need. This is no time to add insult to injury and defund help for farmers and rural America.” On the other hand, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D. CA) felt strongly about the resolution, stating, “The Continuing Resolution introduced today will avert a catastrophic shutdown in the middle of the ongoing pandemic, wildfires, and hurricanes, and keep the government open until December 11, when we plan to have bipartisan legislation to fund the government for this fiscal year.”
Since the passing of the Continuing Resolution, both Senators and Congressman plan to negotiate a spending deal by the December deadline to boost federal agency budgets for the remainder of FY2021. This might seem unlikely due to the Presidential election, but Senate Appropriations Chair Richard Shelby told Politico, “I think we’ll have a good opportunity to do it. It depends on the attitude of both Democrats and Republicans-It’s a worthy goal.”
A summary of H.R. 8337 can be read here.