House to press ahead on 2013 spending bills for transportation, agriculture

Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee have specifically complained that the GOP bill freezes federal funding for roads and bridges while Congress continues to negotiate a long-term highway bill, which could also see action next week.

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The second spending bill would fund the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and related agencies. This bill, H.R. 5973, spends $19.4 billion, a $365 million cut from current levels.

Democrats argue that the bill cuts the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by $25 million, a 12 percent reduction from current levels that would make it harder for the agency to implement the Dodd-Frank financial reforms.

Democrats are also expected to protest a $250 million cut to the Food for Peace Program, which would make it harder for the government to buy up U.S. commodities to help feed people around the world.

GOP leaders have indicated that both of these bills will be up next week — the House has already approved four of the 12 annual spending bills, and approving these two next week would bring the House to the halfway mark before the July 4 break.