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Budget Reconciliation Legislation Advances in Congress

Democrats in Congress reached agreement on a budget reconciliation package that is likely to soon be signed into law by President Biden. The legislation, now known as the "Inflation Reduction Act," is a scaled back version of the so-called, "Build Back Better," legislation. It includes major spending priorities in agriculture, energy and climate in addition to health care and other policy priorities of democrats. It also includes some tax increases aimed at providing minimum corporate tax rates and closing certain tax loopholes.

Regarding agriculture spending, the legislation provides roughly $20 billion in increases to conservation program spending aimed at addressing climate issues, including $8.45 billion for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP); $6.75 billion for the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP); $3.25 billion for the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP); $1.4 billion for the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program (ACEP); and $1 billion for USDA conservation technical assistance.

In addition, the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will receive $300 million to quantify carbon sequestration and emissions on farmland.

The legislation narrowly passed the Senate 51-50 with a tie-breaking vote by Vice President Kamala Harris. The House is expected to hold a vote on the legislation Friday, August 12.

Update: The House passed the bill Friday by a vote of 220-207.

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