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.
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.
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).
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.
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.