Bill to Avoid Government Shutdown Boosts Pandemic Child Nutrition, USDA Farm Assistance & FEMA

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), who serves on the Senate Appropriations Committee, today voted for a stopgap appropriations measure to fund federal operations through Dec. 11, while also extending programs important to Mississippi’s economy and wellbeing.

The Senate gave final approval to a “continuing resolution,” a measure required to maintain federal programs past the Oct. 1 start of Fiscal Year 2021.  HR.8337 includes provisions fought for by Hyde-Smith, including funding to replenish the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) for farm assistance and other payments and extending Families First Coronavirus Response Act waiver extensions for the National School Lunch Program.

“This continuing resolution is necessary to maintain federal programs without disruptions, which is important as families, businesses, and local governments work through the ongoing pandemic.  For Mississippi, it will ensure children are fed, farmers have access to resources, and community health centers support is extended,” Hyde-Smith said.

“I hope the bipartisan cooperation that went into this measure will extend to negotiations to complete FY2021 appropriations bills,” she said.

The bill now goes to President Trump.  In addition to providing funding for government programs through Dec. 11, the measure extends expiring authorizations for programs important to Mississippians.  Among them:

  • Allows the USDA CCC to be replenished in order to make necessary 2018 Farm Bill assistance and other payments.
  • Extends the Pandemic EBT program through Sept. 30, 2021, and expands the program to cover children at childcare centers impacted by the pandemic. 
  • Extends waivers in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act relating to the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children until Sept. 30, 2021. 
  • Extends state flexibilities for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
  • Extends funding for Community Health Centers, National Health Service Corps, and Teaching Health Centers Graduate Medical Education Program through December 11, 2020.
  • Extends the National Flood Insurance Program through Sept. 30, 2021.
  • Provides the FEMA Disaster Relief Fund immediate access to an additional $17.4 billion for disaster recovery operations.
  • Provides a one-year appropriations extension, through Sept. 20, 2021, for FAST Act federal surface transportation programs, whose authorization expires Sept. 30, 2020.
  • Extends the Highway Trust Fund and Airport and Airway Trust Fund, including general fund transfers to support federal projects and programs.
  • Extends Defense Department authority to make CARES Act 3610 payments to reimburse contractors for COVID-19 related costs.

A section-by-section summary of HR.8337 is available here.