Last week, I voted against the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (H.R. 2112 ).
For tens of millions of American households, putting food on the table did not get any easier last year. I voted against this bill because I cannot agree with spending billions to continue the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and tax breaks for oil companies and corporations shipping jobs overseas, while making drastic cuts that will take food out of the mouth of babes, increase the risk of food-borne illnesses, hurt the very heart of farm country, undercut common-sense financial regulations, and protect Wall Street speculators that are driving up gas prices. I cannot vote to hurt those who need it most.
The bill cuts WIC for pregnant women, infants and children by $650 million or 10%--denying food and health counseling for up to 350,000 low-income women and young children for next year. In Missouri, between 3,300 and 5,800 eligible applicants--that means struggling mothers, their children, and their infants in need--will go hungry.
The bill also cuts food aid for low-income seniors (Commodity Supplemental Food Program) and help for food banks (Emergency Food Assistance Program).
The bill slashes the Food and Drug Administration by $572 million or 21% below the President's request and by $285 million or 12% below this year. These deep cuts will severely undermine food safety efforts and increase the risk of food-borne illnesses -- preventing the implementation of the landmark Food Safety Act enacted at the end of the 111th Congress. This law requires the FDA to significantly step up scrutiny of domestic and imported food and requires development of a new food safety system that is focused on preventing contamination before it occurs, rather than simply responding to contamination outbreaks.
The bill slashes the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the agency charged with policing price speculation in commodities, futures, and derivatives markets and implementing common-sense Wall Street reforms to prevent another financial crisis, by 44 percent below the President's request.
With speculation at an all-time high, American families are paying a speculative "fear premium" of anywhere between $20-30 per barrel of oil which equates to a 60-70 cent increase per gallon at the pump.
International Food Aid: The bill would cut an international food assistance program that provides emergency aid by more than $450 million, or one-third of its budget. These cuts would prevent distribution of emergency food aid to over 1.1 million beneficiaries.
The bill passed by 217-203 margin, with 19 Republicans joining all Democrats in voting against it.