Springtime in Washington, DC – the cherries are in bloom, the weather is erratic, and legislators start “the appropriations process.”
The what?! The appropriations process, or “approps” as the kids say, is the time when members of Congress decide which programs will get funded in the coming year, and for how much. It is a critical time for the programs many of us count on in rural America, even if you don’t realize these programs are helping your community.
How can you be involved to make sure these programs keep rural America thriving?
Here’s how it works: First, members of the Appropriations Committees submit letters to their respective chairs, outlining their favorite programs. For the Center for Rural Affairs, among the important programs we want to see funded are the Conservation Stewardship Program, the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Individual Development Accounts, and a few others.
Next, the committees pull everyone’s requests together, along with the requests in the President’s budget, and proposed bills. The committees meet, debate, and make changes to the bills. The bills then go to the floor of their respective houses of Congress, to be debated and changed by the full Senate and House of Representatives.
Watch your emails for messages from Center for Rural Affairs staff. We’ll let you know key times to contact your legislators, and the levels of funding needed to keep conservation programs strong, rural small businesses growing, and dollars flowing to the programs we all need.
Not getting our emails? Check your junk folder or spam box. Put us on your “safe contacts” list. If you still don’t see us, contact me (StephL@cfra.org). I’ll make sure we have all your information right!
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