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The House

March 21, 1990

Rural Development

By a vote of 315 to 99, the House approved the rule for debating a major realignment of rural development programs within the Department of Agriculture. The bill (HR 3581) later was pulled off the floor after being amended (below) in a way that upset its sponsors.

The bill creates a Rural Development Administration to take over many Farmers Home Administration programs and give states more say in picking recipients of federal aid. It would cost more than $2 billion over five years. In part, it would ease repayment terms to many holders of rural electrification and FmHA loans and would aid communities hurt by a reduction in timbering in nearby national forests.

The new agency would provide grants and loans to community health facilities, small businesses, water and sewer authorities, electric and telephone borrowers and other recipients.

Supporter Lynn Martin (R-Ill.) said she liked the bill's "pooling of existing funds under a new umbrella Rural Development Administration."

Opponent Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.) complained that the bill "authorizes large sums of money for new programs and expansion of existing programs."

Members voting yes supported the rule for debating the bill.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Gallegly (R) x Rep. Lagomarsino (R) x

To Amend the Rural Bill

By a vote of 204 to 193, the House amended HR 3581 (above) to preserve existing procedures for allocating water and sewer grants and loans to rural areas. This eliminated the bill's attempt to pool water and sewer money with other rural development funds, for distribution according to priorities set by state review panels.

The vote caused sponsors to pull the bill from debate, charging it had been gutted.

Sponsor Charlie Rose (D-N.C.) said his amendment would "keep the rural water and sewer programs sacrosanct."

Opponent Timothy J. Penny (D-Minn.) said the FmHA's "emphasis, given water and sewer funding, shortchanges other worthwhile rural development initiatives."

Members voting yes supported the amendment.

How They Voted Yea Nay No vote Rep. Gallegly (R) x Rep. Lagomarsino (R) x

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