Farm Bill Appropriations

Both Congressional Appropriations Committees Finish FY2014 Agricultural Appropriations

(May, 2014) The Appropriations Committees of both the House and Senate have now completed their work on FY2015 appropriations for the US Department of Agriculture, including farm energy programs. Before these changes become permanent, they will need to be passed by both Houses with changes agreed to by a conference committee in one bill signed by the President.

President’s Budget Request

The President’s budget request to Congress supported the full mandatory funding for the Energy Title. Additionally, the President requested $10 million for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP).

House Action

The House Appropriations Committee voted to slash mandatory funding by a total of $108 million from three key energy programs.

The committee cut $20 million (40%) in mandatory funding from the REAP, though they also added $3.5 million in discretionary funds for loan guarantees. They, likewise, cut mandatory funding for the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) by 40%, to only $15 million. The biggest cut was at 78% for the Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical, and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance program, which would leave $22 million in funding.

Senate Action

The Senate Appropriations Committee respected the mandatory funding agreed to by Congress when they passed the Farm Bill in January. They provided an additional $1.35 million in discretionary funding to REAP. The Senate committee also called for biogas system development to be prioritized in Energy Title programs and called for REAP to focus on agricultural producers.