S. 2923 would authorize the appropriation of $377 million over the 2021-2026 period for the Fisheries Disaster Assistance program administered by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The Congress provided $300 million for that program in 2021, which is the most recent appropriation for the program. Under current law, NOAA may provide financial assistance to commercial fisheries that experience economic hardship because of natural or manmade disasters. S. 2923 would explicitly define terms that are used to determine if a fishery is eligible for assistance. The bill also would require NOAA to adhere to a faster application review process and to fulfill additional reporting requirements.
Using information from NOAA, CBO expects that implementing S. 2923 would not substantially change the way the program is administered under current law. The bill does not authorize specific amounts for any year in the period; for this estimate, we have shown the entire amount in fiscal year 2022. Based on historical spending patterns, CBO estimates that NOAA would spend $342 million over the 2022-2027 period and $35 million after 2027 to assist fisheries, assuming appropriation of the authorized amount.
The costs of the legislation, detailed in Table 1, fall within budget function 370 (commerce and housing credit).