WASHINGTON, Jan. 15, 2014 - The House approved today a $1 trillion omnibus spending package that would fund the federal government, including USDA and FDA, through fiscal year 2014.

The legislation (H.R. 3547), approved on a 359-67 vote, now heads to the Senate for its consideration, which could happen Thursday. The bill received support from 166 Republicans and 193 Democrats, while 64 Republican lawmakers and three Democrats voted in opposition.

Earlier today, the Senate approved, on a strong 86-14 vote, a three-day extension of current government funding levels, which were set to expire at midnight. The House approved the same extension on Tuesday, and it now awaits President Obama’s signature.

The omnibus package would fund 12 departments – giving USDA and FDA a combined increase of $350 million for a total of $20.9 billion in discretionary spending. Several agencies would receive slight increases, or funding levels close to FY 2013.

While the package would provide funding for USDA operations, the legislation also touches upon various agricultural policy issues.

The bill seeks to stop the Grain Inspection, Stockyards and Packers Administration from finalizing rules dealing with contracts in the livestock and poultry sector.

The legislation recommends, but does not require, that the USDA delays finalizing country-of-origin labeling rules until after the World Trade Organization issues a final decision on the program.

The bill includes a provision to prohibit funding from being used for USDA inspections of U.S. horse slaughter facilities. A similar ban was in place from 2005 to 2011.

Further, the legislation includes a provision, which aims to clarify a prohibition on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from regulating farms with fewer than 10 employees.

A list of proposed agency funding levels can be viewed here.


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