House Ag panel approves billions for climate change research, clean energy, and conservation

The U.S. House Agriculture Committee advanced a spending plan on Monday that includes billions of dollars in funding for rural development, climate change research, biofuel investment, and forestry, reports Politico. Democrats are pursuing the plan under the congressional budgetary process called reconciliation, which requires only a simple majority in the Senate to pass. Portions of the bill dealing with conservation funding and debt relief are still being negotiated between House and Senate Democrats. Some Republican members of the committee said the conservation funding could determine how they vote on the final spending package. Chair David Scott (D-Ga.) said an additional $28 billion will be allotted for conservation programs and climate-friendly farming when the bill goes to the House floor. The plan next heads to the Judiciary Committee for mark-up. Meanwhile, all eyes are on the Senate parliamentarian, who will decide whether Democrats are allowed to include immigration reform in the final $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill.