The House passes a $1.3 trillion spending bill ( File photo )

The House of Representatives on March 22 passed a $1.3 trillion spending package, sending it to the Senate for a vote March 23 to avert a government shutdown that would begin that night.

The bill, according to a news release from House Republicans, provides all discretionary funding for the federal government for the 2018 fiscal year, including the full legislation and funding for all of the 12 annual Appropriations bills.

Discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture was $23.3 billion, including $3.03 billion for agricultural research programs that help fight devastating crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, increase production, and combat antimicrobial resistance, according to the release.

Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said in a news release that the bill includes $67.47 million in total funding for citrus greening research and the Citrus Health Research Program.

Citrus growers in Florida, however, continue to wait for funds from the $2.36 billion disaster relief legislation approved in February to deal with Hurricane Irma and other devastating events across the country.

“We’re still waiting, maybe not as patiently as we were to start with,” Florida Citrus Commission Chairman G. Ellis Hunt told the Tampa Bay Times.

The House spending package includes $86.2 billion for the Department of Transportation for transportation infrastructure, including $27.3 billion in discretionary appropriations, an increase of $8.8 billion above fiscal year 2017.

Discretionary funding for the Department of Health and Human Service topped $177 billion. The bill allocated $1.04 billion for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition for fiscal year 2018, up about $16 million from fiscal year 2017.

 

 

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