Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Payment Limitation Progressing

Chris Clayton reports the House Appropriations committee approved an amendment by Rep. Flake setting a $250,000 payment limitation on certain farm programs.

Tidbits from the committee report:

Cultural Transformation.—USDA is carrying out initiatives such as cultural transformation without a budget request or a specific appropriation for this activity. One of the concerns is the way in which this initiative is spending scarce Federal resources. According to USDA documents, the Department spent $50,000 to train
900 senior leaders on cultural transformation. This appears to be a legitimate expense; however, USDA spent nearly $500,000 on personnel and travel to send 43 employees to one of the most expensive business schools on the East Coast for a week of training. This does not appear to be a wise expenditure of Federal dollars. Furthermore, the Committee does not believe that holding cultural transformation activities on the National Mall is a wise expenditure of funds either. Lastly, the Department has not defined what cultural transformation is, what requirement is attempting to be met, what the goals are, and what measurements are being used in order to determine its effectiveness

State Office Collocation.—The Committee continues to direct that any reallocation of resources related to the collocation of state offices scheduled for 2011 and subsequent years is subject to the Committee’s reprogramming procedures.

FSA IT.—The Committee does not approve reprogramming the $23,600,000 from MIDAS. In providing the fiscal year 2011 funding level, the Committee expected that $49,500,000 would be spent on MIDAS in 2011. The Committee has acknowledged the tenuous stability of the system and directs the agency to provide a briefing to the Committee by June 10, 2011, on this issue.

CCC Funds to FSA.—The Committee has learned that, through the Commodity Credit Corporation, an additional $20 million has been made available to the agency. The Committee directs the agency to report by July 1, 2011, on its plans for the use of those funds.

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