(a) Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund

On and after September 30, 2008, there is established in the Treasury a fund entitled the “Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund”.

(b) Purpose and availability of Fund

Terms Used In 7 USC 6945

  • Fiscal year: The fiscal year is the accounting period for the government. For the federal government, this begins on October 1 and ends on September 30. The fiscal year is designated by the calendar year in which it ends; for example, fiscal year 2006 begins on October 1, 2005 and ends on September 30, 2006.
  • Obligation: An order placed, contract awarded, service received, or similar transaction during a given period that will require payments during the same or a future period.

Subject to subsection (d), amounts in the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund shall be available to the Secretary of Agriculture, until expended, to provide additional amounts for authorized activities of agencies of the Rural Development Mission Area in areas affected by a disaster declared by the President or the Secretary of Agriculture. Amounts so provided shall be in addition to any other amounts available to carry out the activity. In carrying out this section, the Secretary may transfer funds into existing or new accounts as determined by the Secretary.

(c) Waiver of activity or project limitations

The Secretary of Agriculture may waive any limits on population, income, or cost-sharing otherwise applicable to an activity or project for which amounts in the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund will be obligated under subsection (b), except that, if the amounts proposed to be obligated in connection with the disaster would exceed the amount specified in subsection (h), the notification required by that subsection shall include information and justification with regard to any waivers to be granted under this subsection.

(d) Treatment of certain amounts in Fund

Amounts appropriated directly to the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund by this Act or any subsequent Act for a specific purpose shall be available only for that purpose until such time as the transfer authority provided by subsection (f) takes effect with regard to the amounts. Only subsection (c), including the notification requirements of such subsection, and subsections (g) and (i) apply to amounts described in this subsection.

(e) Transfer of prior appropriations to Fund

The Secretary of Agriculture may transfer to the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund, and merge with other amounts generally appropriated to the Fund, the available unobligated balance of any amounts that were appropriated before September 30, 2008, for programs and activities of the Rural Development Mission Area to respond to a disaster and were designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement if, in advance of the transfer, the Secretary determines that the unobligated amounts are no longer needed to respond to the disaster for which the amounts were originally appropriated and the Secretary provides a certification of this determination to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate.

(f) Transfer of other appropriations to Fund

Unless otherwise specifically provided in an appropriations Act, the Secretary of Agriculture may transfer to or within the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund, and merge with other amounts generally appropriated to the Fund, the available unobligated balance of any amounts that are appropriated for fiscal year 2009 or any subsequent fiscal year for programs and activities of the Rural Development Mission Area to respond to a disaster and are designated by the Congress as an emergency requirement if, in advance of the transfer, the Secretary determines that the unobligated amounts are no longer needed to respond to the disaster for which the amounts were originally appropriated and the Secretary provides a certification of this determination to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate. A transfer of unobligated amounts with respect to a disaster may not be made under this subsection until after the end of the two-year period beginning on the date on which the amounts were originally appropriated for that disaster.

(g) Administrative expenses

In addition to any other funds available to the Secretary of Agriculture to cover administrative costs, the Secretary may use up to 3 percent of the amounts allocated from the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund for a specific disaster to cover administrative costs of Rural Development’s State and local offices in the areas affected by the disaster to carry out disaster related activities.

(h) Limitation on per disaster obligations

Amounts in the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund, except for amounts described in subsection (d) that are appropriated to the Fund and obligated in accordance with that subsection, may not be obligated in excess of $1,000,000 for a disaster until at least 15 days after the date on which the Secretary of Agriculture notifies the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Secretary’s determination to obligate additional amounts and the reasons for the determination. The Secretary may not obligate more than 50 percent of the funds contained in the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund for any one disaster unless the Secretary declares that there is a specific and extreme need that additional funds must be provided in response to such disaster at time of the obligation.

(i) Quarterly reports

The Secretary of Agriculture shall submit, on a quarterly basis, to the Committees on Appropriations of the House of Representatives and the Senate a report describing the status of the Rural Development Disaster Assistance Fund and any transactions that have affected the Fund since the previous report.