Shared on May 31th, 2018 by Dan Sebert, National Watershed Coalition: www.watershedcoalition.org
The House Committee on Agriculture passed the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 out of Committee on April 18th. The bill provided $100 million a year for five years for the Watershed Program for a total funding of $500 million. Unlike past farm bills, the Committee expanded the funding to incorporate not only the Rehab authorities but all authorities under PL-566. This is a historic funding commitment to the program in a farm bill and provides increased certainty to project sponsors over the next five years. In addition to this funding, the Committee incorporated important reforms into the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) that will allow RCPP to use PL-566 authorities more and provide additional flexibility to project sponsors. Unfortunately, the bill failed to pass the full House of Representatives on May 18th by a vote of 198-213. The House will reconsider the vote during June, most likely on or near June 22nd.
The Senate continues to draft their bill which both Chairman Roberts and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow pledge to be more bipartisan than what came out of the House. No details have been released on the bill. Media reports highlighted a June 6th date for Committee action, but that date has seemed to slip and most prognosticators are saying it will be the week of June 11th before we see any bill text from the Senate.