The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture today approved a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and other related agencies. The bill, which matches President Obama's request, would appropriate $23.1 billion in funding -- $200 million more than last year's House-passed bill.
Republicans on the subcommittee, led by Ranking Member Jack Kingston (R-GA) offered amendments that would have reduced the cost of the bill by $1.64 billion, protected small meat processing plants from costly and over-burdensome inspections, protect milk producers from misguided EPA regulations, and prevent the creation of a new federal program without congressional oversight and involvement.
"All across the country, working families are making difficult decisions to stretch every dollar in this tough economy yet Democrats in Congress refuse to do the same," said Kingston. "Instead, they're punting the tough choices and financing their out-of-control spending on the backs of our children and grandchildren. We need to transcend election-year politics and have an adult discussion. Republicans on this subcommittee stand ready to work with them to provide necessary funding for important programs while making commonsense cuts to government excesses."
In addition to concerns specific to the bill, Kingston and subcommittee Republicans protested the failure of House Democrats to pass a budget. That is a first since modern budgeting process was adopted in 1974 and forces members on both sides of the aisle to vote for spending bills without seeing them in context of a comprehensive spending plan.
Adding further to their concerns is the lack of guarantee that the bill will be debated in the full committee or brought to the floor of the House in a manner which would allow debate and amendment.