CHN: Senate Committee Approves FY 2003 Agriculture Appropriations
Senate Appropriations Exceed House Recommendations
On Thursday, July 25, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a $74.6 billion agriculture spending measure (S 2801) for fiscal year 2003 by a vote of 29-0. The Senate’s version of the agriculture bill exceeds both last year’s budget of $74.5 billion and the $74.3 billion approved by the House Appropriations Committee July 11.
The Senate bill fulfills a number of the Administration’s budget requests including increasing FY 03 Humanitarian Food Assistance by $335 million over FY 02 levels and increasing Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) spending by $403 million. Exceeding the President’s proposed FY 03 budget, the Senate appropriated $20 million to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), $107 million to the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), and $26.3 billion to the Food Stamp Program. Senate appropriators further diverged from the Administration’s proposals by including a provision in the WIC appropriation that would make the program’s reserve funds available until expended, rather than lapsing at the end of each fiscal year.
The House and the Senate are each expected to debate their committees’ versions of the agriculture appropriations bill when Congress returns from recess in September. During these discussions, contention is more likely to arise around issues of farm subsidy limits and conservation program funding than around domestic food program provisions.