7 USC 2204b-2: Temporary prioritization of rural health assistance
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7 USC 2204b-2: Temporary prioritization of rural health assistance Text contains those laws in effect on June 22, 2024

§2204b–2. Temporary prioritization of rural health assistance

(a) Authority to temporarily prioritize certain rural development applications

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary, after consultation with such public health officials as may be necessary, may announce through a Federal Register notice pursuant to section 553(b)(3)(B) of title 5 a temporary reprioritization, on a national or multistate basis, for certain rural development loan and grant applications to assist rural communities in responding to a significant public health disruption.

(b) Public health disruption

For the purposes of this section, the term "public health disruption" means an unanticipated increase in mortality or morbidity in rural communities, when compared to non-rural communities, caused by identifiable events, actions, or behavioral trends, which can be remediated by the programs of the Rural Development mission area. When measuring a public health disruption, the Secretary may analyze data on a national or multi-state basis.

(c) Content of announcement

In the announcement, the Secretary shall-

(1) describe the nature of the public health disruption, including the causes, effects, affected populations, and affected States;

(2) explain how the programs of the Department of Agriculture will work in remedying the public health disruption;

(3) identify the services, treatments, or infrastructure best suited to address the public health disruption;

(4) establish-

(A) the start and end dates of the reprioritization;

(B) the programs subject to reprioritization and the modifications to the application process;

(C) the process for making reprioritizations for applicable programs;

(D) the amount of funds set-aside for applicable programs, except that a set-aside for such a program shall not be greater than 20 percent of the amounts appropriated for the program for the fiscal year involved; and

(E) the region in which the reprioritization is in effect; and

(5) instruct program administrators to implement the reprioritization during the application window or announcement after the announcement takes effect.

(d) Limitations on reprioritizations

When announcing the reprioritization, the Secretary shall-

(1) establish an initial total time period of less than 4 years, except as provided for in subsection (e);

(2) implement only 1 nationally applicable reprioritization at a time;

(3) implement only 1 regionally applicable reprioritization per State at a time; and

(4) not use reprioritizations to allocate additional funds to an affected State.

(e) Extension

The Secretary may extend an announcement under subsection (a) for no more than 6 years in total, except that nothing shall prevent the Secretary from renewing reprioritizations by making a new announcement under subsection (a).

(f) Rescinding the announcement

The Secretary may rescind a reprioritization announcement made under subsection (a) at any time the Secretary determines that the temporary reprioritizations are no longer needed or effective.

(g) Notice

Not later than 48 hours after making, extending, or rescinding an announcement under this section, the Secretary shall submit to the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, and transmit to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a written notice of the declaration, extension, or rescission.

(Pub. L. 92–419, title VI, §608, as added Pub. L. 115–334, title VI, §6101(b), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 4727 .)

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries

Support for Cotton Merchandisers

Pub. L. 117–328, div. HH, title V, §601, Dec. 29, 2022, 136 Stat. 5994 , provided that:

"(a) Cotton Merchandiser Pandemic Assistance.-

"(1) Pandemic assistance payments to cotton merchandisers.-The Secretary [of Agriculture] shall make pandemic assistance payments, under terms and conditions as determined by the Secretary, to cotton merchandisers that purchased cotton from a United States cotton producer or marketed cotton on behalf of a United States cotton producer during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on the date of enactment of this Act [Dec. 29, 2022].

"(2) Payment determinations.-The Secretary shall take into consideration economic impacts of COVID–19 and other supply chain disruptions in determining payment rates under this subsection, such that the amounts made available under paragraph (4)(A) are fully expended no later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this section.

"(3) Cotton merchandiser defined.-In this subsection, the term 'cotton merchandiser' means an entity that markets, sells, or trades cotton to end users.

"(4) Funding limitations.-

"(A) In general.-Of the funds made available under subsection (b), the Secretary shall make available $100,000,000 to carry out this subsection.

"(B) Administrative expenses.-The Secretary may use not more than 1 percent of the funds under subparagraph (A) for administrative costs necessary to carry out this subsection.

"(b) Funding.-The Secretary shall make available $100,000,000 to be derived from the unobligated balances of amounts made available under section 751 of division N of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (Public Law 116–260) [134 Stat. 2105] to carry out subsection (a)."

Emergency Rural Development Grants for Rural Health Care

Pub. L. 117–2, title I, §1002, Mar. 11, 2021, 135 Stat. 11 , provided that:

"(a) Grants.-The Secretary of Agriculture (in this section referred to as the 'Secretary') shall use the funds made available by this section to establish an emergency pilot program for rural development not later than 150 days after the date of enactment of this Act [Mar. 11, 2021] to provide grants to eligible applicants (as defined in section 3570.61(a) of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations) to be awarded by the Secretary based on rural development needs related to the COVID–19 pandemic.

"(b) Uses.-An eligible applicant to whom a grant is awarded under this section may use the grant funds for costs, including those incurred prior to the issuance of the grant, as determined by the Secretary, of facilities which primarily serve rural areas (as defined in section 343(a)(13)(C) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1991(a)(13)(C)), which are located in a rural area, the median household income of the population to be served by which is less than the greater of the poverty line or the applicable percentage (determined under section 3570.63(b) of title 7, Code of Federal Regulations) of the State nonmetropolitan median household income, and for which the performance of any construction work completed with grant funds shall meet the condition set forth in section 9003(f) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 8103(f)), to-

"(1) increase capacity for vaccine distribution;

"(2) provide medical supplies to increase medical surge capacity;

"(3) reimburse for revenue lost during the COVID–19 pandemic, including revenue losses incurred prior to the awarding of the grant;

"(4) increase telehealth capabilities, including underlying health care information systems;

"(5) construct temporary or permanent structures to provide health care services, including vaccine administration or testing;

"(6) support staffing needs for vaccine administration or testing; and

"(7) engage in any other efforts to support rural development determined to be critical to address the COVID–19 pandemic, including nutritional assistance to vulnerable individuals, as approved by the Secretary.

"(c) Funding.-In addition to amounts otherwise available, there is appropriated to the Secretary for fiscal year 2021, out of any money in the Treasury not otherwise appropriated, $500,000,000, to remain available until September 30, 2023, to carry out this section, of which not more than 3 percent may be used by the Secretary for administrative purposes and not more than 2 percent may be used by the Secretary for technical assistance as defined in section 306(a)(26) of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act (7 U.S.C. 1926(a)(26))."