Senate approves two amendments to ag approps bill
The Senate on Monday approved two amendments to the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture appropriations bill that is part of a package of appropriations bills under consideration in the Senate this week.
An amendment sponsored by Sen. Doug Jones, R-Ala., would provide $5 million for an Agriculture Department relending program established under the 2018 farm bill to resolve ownership and succession on what’s known as heirs property — land that passed from one generation of a family to another without a clear title.
Without clear title, the landowners cannot participate in federal farm programs or get mortgages on the property.
The Food & Environment Reporting Network said that one expert estimates that 40% of black-owned farmland is heirs property, but that the situation can occur to any family that is short of funds and can result in several people having a stake in a farm.
A second amendment sponsored by Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto, D-Nev., would require a report relating to the challenges that food distribution programs face in reaching underserved populations.
The Jones and the Cortez Masto amendments passed 90 to 1, with Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., voting against them.
A third amendment sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., to reduce the amounts appropriated to 2% less than the amount appropriated for fiscal year 2019 failed to pass, 24 to 67.
Before adjournment, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., filed cloture on H.$. 3055, the appropriations package that includes the fiscal year 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill.
Under the cloture rules, unless a time agreement is reached, the Senate will vote on the Motion to Invoke Cloture on Amendment #948 (In the nature of a substitute) to H.R. 3055 one hour after the Senate convenes on Wednesday.