WASHINGTON, March 26, 2013 – President Obama today signed into law legislation (H.R. 933) that avoids a federal government shutdown and provides funding to departments and agencies, including USDA, through the end of fiscal year 2013.
Importantly, the law prevents tentative furloughs of Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) meat inspectors.
The law provides $20.5 billion for agriculture, rural development, the FDA and related agencies. Those agencies received nearly $19.6 billion in the fiscal year that ended last Sept. 30.
The law includes a provision providing the administration with flexibility to ensure that “essential” federal employees, such as meat inspectors, are not subjected to looming sequestration-related furloughs.
The legislation grants the USDA flexibility to transfer $55 million in existing agriculture funds to FSIS in order to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed.
Under sequestration, the USDA and other federal departments are required to make funding cuts of between 5 percent and 8 percent in a “line-item” matter with no ability to shift cuts between programs.
The law moves one-time funding for school equipment grants and defers maintenance on buildings and facilities at USDA.
In addition, the law funds implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act with an additional $12.8 million. The law aims to improve access to clean water in rural communities with an additional $250 million in funds.
For more news, go to www.agri-pulse.com