The FY13 agriculture appropriations bill was approved by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee. The draft measure, not yet assigned a bill number, passed on a voice vote with no objections. The next step will be consideration by the full appropriations committee as early as the week of June 18.

The measure sets spending at $19.4 billion for the fiscal year beginning on Oct. 1, a decrease of 1.9% from the FY12 enacted level. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a version of the measure on April 26 (S. Rept. 112-163) that would set spending at $20.8 billion.

The House subcommittee rejected, by an 8-5 vote, an amendment offered by Rep. DeLauro (D-CT) to restore funding to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Rep. DeLauro said she would offer additional amendments when the full committee considers the bill. The measure as approved by the subcommittee would reduce CFTC funding by 12 percent. The CFTC regulates futures and derivatives markets.

When the full committee considers the bill there will be additional debate over cuts to foreign food aid and domestic nutrition programs. When the committee meets, Rep. Flake (R-AZ) is expected to offer an amendment that would prohibit the US from transferring funds to the Brazilian Cotton Institute as required under terms of the US-Brazil Framework Agreement negotiated by the two governments to avoid retaliation against US exports while the ’12 farm bill is being formulated.

The NCC sent a letter to the members of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which urged opposition to any amendment that would undermine the US-Brazil Framework Agreement. In addition, the Arizona Cotton Growers Assoc. Board of Directors sent a letter to Rep. Flake expressing strong opposition to legislation, “which, if enacted, would result in the United States abrogating an agreement negotiated with the Government of Brazil in June 2010.” Copies of the NCC and Arizona Cotton Growers’ letters, as well as talking points and a list of House Appropriations Committee members, are in the issues section (Members’ Only) of the NCC’s website at www.cotton.org/issues/members/index.cfm.