The Fence Post: Biden signs omnibus appropriations bill with Growing Climate Solutions Act


President Biden on Thursday signed H.R. 2617, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, making consolidated appropriations for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023, and for providing emergency assistance for the situation in Ukraine, and for other purposes.

Biden signed the bill in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he is spending New Year’s with his family.

Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., noted that the act includes the Growing Climate Solutions Act that she and Rep. Don Bacon, R-Va., introduced in the House.

Spanberger said that the Growing Climate Solutions Act will create a registration program at the Agriculture Department for those involved in carbon credit markets.

“By providing greater transparency and USDA oversight of these markets, this law will help reduce technical entry barriers that prevent farmer and forest landowner participation in carbon credit markets,” Spanberger said. “Through the program, USDA would help connect landowners to private sector actors who can assist the landowners in implementing the protocols and monetizing the climate value of their sustainable practices.”

She added, “I’ve been proud to see our legislation garner support from across the political spectrum — and I’ve been even prouder to see a wide coalition of farm groups, environmental organizations, and Fortune 500 companies find common ground on the major climate challenges we face.”

She also thanked Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., for introducing the bill in the Senate.
The National Pork Producers Council noted “The 4,000-plus page bill included several agricultural items, including:
▪ “Disaster assistance — $3.7 billion in disaster funding for crop and livestock losses due to drought and other problems in 2022.
▪ Livestock Mandatory Reporting — Livestock Mandatory Reporting is extended until Sept. 30, 2023.
▪ Price transparency — The USDA and the Department of Justice are to analyze issues regarding transparent meat pricing and price discovery for cattle producers.
▪ Chinese chicken — Prohibits funding to procure raw or processed chicken imported into the United States from China for the federal school lunch program.
▪ Foreign audits — The USDA will conduct audits to evaluate a country or region regarding veterinary control and oversight; disease history and vaccination practices; livestock demographics and traceability; surveillance practices; diagnostic laboratory capabilities; and emergency preparedness and response.
▪ Packers and Stockyards Act — The Agricultural Marketing Service will receive $5 million for oversight and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.
▪ NIFA — The National Institute of Food and Agriculture would receive $1.7 billion, an increase of $64 million over FY ’22. NIFA funds research at land-grant universities.
▪ Commodity assistance — $250 million is allocated for rice producer payments to compensate for the drop in revenue this year. $100 million is provided for payments to cotton merchandisers as a result of losses related to the pandemic or supply chain disruptions.”

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