WASHINGTON – As expected, President Clinton signed a $78 billion bill to fund the USDA for the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.
Highly critical of several key provisions, the president said he found more good than bad in the bill, which became the focal point for fierce partisan debates over Cuban economic sanctions and imported prescription drugs.
In what has become an annual event, the bill also featured $3.5 billion in emergency aid to a wide variety of crops, livestock and other interests throughout agriculture. And it was the unlikely vehicle for a major change in U.S. anti-dumping law, one that could bring the United States under formal challenge in the World Trade Organization.
The bill funds not only the agriculture department but also the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Farm Credit Administration.
Major portions of the bill fund programs that operate as quasi-entitlements, with spending automatic unless Congress changes the law.