House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today commended the House for passing H.R. 2112, the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The legislation funds the various programs within the Department of Agriculture and related agencies, and totals $125.5 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, a reduction of more than $7 billion from the President's request. The bill reduces discretionary spending by $2.7 billion from last year's level -- a cut of more than $5 billion from the President's request. The bill passed on a vote of 217-203.
"This bill answers the call from Americans to reduce government spending while still providing for critical programs that keep American agriculture competitive in a global economy. The funding in this bill will help our rural communities to thrive, provide daily nutrition to children and families across the country, and keep our food and drug supply safe," House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said. "This legislation will also help to put the Department of Agriculture, the FDA, and other agencies back on a sustainable budget path that is accountable to the taxpayers of this country."
Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston also praised the passage of the bill.
"As the Congress continues the battle to lower spending, cut waste and create jobs, this bill represents a reduction of 13.4 percent in discretionary funding and makes the tough choices necessary to reduce spending while keeping our bill's basic missions of food production, food and drug safety, rural development and nutrition programs intact. The legislation also provides for a review of bureaucratic, job-killing regulations and language to promote the competitiveness and vitality of American agriculture. And, where possible, the Committee has worked with the Agriculture Committee to identify and initiate major reforms for the upcoming Farm Bill," Kingston said.
A summary of amendments to the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that were approved by the House follow:
DeLauro (D-CT) The amendment cuts and adds back $136 million at the same point in the bill, to express support for funding for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The amendment makes no change to the bill. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Fortenberry (R-NE) The amendment cuts $1 million from the Office of the Chief Information Officer and transfers it to the Rural Energy for America Program. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Sessions (R-TX) The amendment strikes the provision in the bill prohibiting private competition on certain commercial contracts by the Agriculture Department until a report is made to Congress on government contracting. This will allow contracts to private entities to move forward in the near term. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 226-199.
Farr (D-CA) The amendment transfers $300,000 from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities to Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS). The AMS provides standardization, grading and market services for major commodities. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 352-70.
Clarke (D-MI) The amendment adds $5 million for child nutrition, offset by a cut to the Departmental Administration account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Young (R-IN) The amendment cuts the USDA general administration account by 10% ($2.4 million). The amendment was adopted on voice vote.
Foxx (R-NC) The amendment prohibits funds in the bill from being used for the USDA "know your farmer, know your food" imitative. The amendment passed on a vote of 212-201.
Kind (D-WI) The amendment prohibits the use of funds to provide payments to the Brazil Cotton Institute ($147 million). The amendment passed on a vote of 223-197.
Nugent (R-FL) The amendment adds $2 million to Agriculture Research Service, offset by a cut to the Foreign Agriculture Service of $2.5 million. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Kingston (R-GA) The amendment reduces discretionary funding in the bill by .78 percent ($147 million). This amendment was necessary to ensure the bill complies with an existing World Trade Organization agreement (WTO). The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Young (R-AK) The amendment prohibits funds for the FDA to approve genetically engineered salmon. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Royce (R-CA) The amendment prohibits funding for Food for Peace assistance to North Korea. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Chaffetz (R-UT) The amendment prohibits funding for salaries and expenses of personnel who provide nonrecourse marketing assistance loans for mohair. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Gibson (R-NY) The amendment cuts $6 million from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities and Rental Payments and transfers the funding to Rural Broadband Loans. The amendment passed on a vote of 221-198.
King (R-IA) #2 The amendment prohibits funding in the bill for any telemedicine services related to the drug mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486. The amendment passed on a vote of 240-176.
Engel (D-NY) The amendment prohibits funding to lease or purchase new light duty vehicles, for any executive fleet, or for an agency's fleet inventory, except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum-Federal Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Garrett (R-NJ) The amendment requires that commodity swap data reporting rules to be finalized and in effect for 12 months before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) can lock in final trade blocks or real-time reporting rules. This will allow industry time to comply with any new rules. The amendment passed on a vote of 231-189.
Scalise (R-LA) The amendment prohibits funding for Department of Agriculture Regulations titled "Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaption." This type of policy statement is unnecessary, and potentially wastes staff time and department resources. The amendment passed on a vote of 238-179.
Hirono (D-HI) The amendment transfers $3 million from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities and Rental Payments to Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. The amendment passed on a vote of 288-132.
Flake (R-AZ) #1 The amendment prohibits funding for the construction of an ethanol blender pump or an ethanol storage facility. The amendment passed on a vote of 283-128.
Gardner (R-CO) The amendment cuts $4.4 million from research and education activities at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and transfers the funds to Integrated Activities. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Flores (R-TX) Prohibits funds from being used to enforce the section of the Energy Independence and Security Act that deals with the acquisition of alternative fuels. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.