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Public Statements

Hearing of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee - FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

Statement

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

Thank you, Chairman Rogers for yielding.

We have before us today the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill and report for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies as passed by the Subcommittee on June 6th.

I want to begin by thanking Ranking Member Farr for all of his work, and the bipartisan spirit with which we bring the FY 2013 Agriculture appropriations bill to the full committee today. I also want to acknowledge all subcommittee members for their work this year through the hearings, and the subcommittee markup. Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks have worked to get our bills through the Committee and to the floor, and I want to thank them for their efforts as well.

The funding level in this bill is $19.405 billion in discretionary budget authority, a decrease of $365 million [1.85 percent] below fiscal year 2012, and a decrease of $1.7 billion below the President's request. Mandatory spending in the bill totals $121.3 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion above fiscal year 2012, and a decrease of $2 billion below the request.

American agriculture is the envy of the world, feeding not only our country but much of the globe. This legislation builds on the bipartisan work of our subcommittee to support agriculture and nutrition, and increase efficiency and effectiveness at the Agriculture Department and the agencies we oversee. It will help ensure a safe and abundant food and drug supply and spur rural economic growth while checking the growth of government using common sense reforms.

Some of these common sense reforms strengthen the management of programs, reduce waste, and stamp out fraud. These include a requirement to include OIG's fraud hotline on SNAP EBT cards and WIC coupons, requirements that the Secretary verify those being approved for certain USDA programs have not been permanently debarred, and a directive to establish uniform income standards in the WIC program. When implemented, these measures will bring greater accountability to Americans, and the tax dollars they send to Washington.

I just want to take a few moments to provide a brief summary of the bill:

Agriculture research spending in the bill totals $2.5 billion, a decrease of $34.5 million below fiscal year 2012, and a decrease of $99.5 million below the budget request. Included in this total is $1.1 billion for the Agricultural Research Service; $1.2 billion for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture; $61 million for the Census of Agriculture and $276.5 for the Agricultural Food and Research Initiative.

Marketing and Regulatory Programs, including APHIS, AMS, and GIPSA, are funded at $903 million, a decrease of $38.7 million below fiscal year 2012, and an increase of $17.9 million above the budget request.

Food Safety and Inspection Service is funded at $996 million, a decrease of $8.9 million below fiscal year 2012, and the same as the President's request.

Salaries and Expenses of the Farm Service Agency are funded at $1.468 billion, a decrease of $23.8 million below fiscal year 2012, and $48.6 million below the request. The Grassroots Source Water Protection program is funded at $3.7 million while FSA loan programs are funded at $4.8 billion, the same as fiscal year 2012 and $5.3 million above the request.

Natural Resources Conservation Service is funded at $812 million, a decrease of $16.1million below fiscal year 2012, and $15.5 million below the request. This funding level will allow NRCS to maintain technical assistance levels on private lands. The bill also includes $14.7 million for the small watershed rehabilitation program.

Rural Development programs are funded at $2.1 billion, a decrease of $180 million below fiscal year 2012, and $168 million below the request. The majority of this decrease is due to significant loan subsidy cost increases in housing, business and industry, and rural economic development loans.

Loan levels for Rural Development programs total $36 billion, a decrease of $179 million below fiscal year 2012, and an increase of $311 million above the request. The bill also includes $485 million for water and waste loans and grants of which $14.7 million is for the circuit rider program.

WIC is funded at $6.9 billion, an increase of $303.5 million above fiscal the fiscal year 2012 level of $6.6 billion, and this provides full funding for the food and state administrative grants that the President requested.

The bill includes $2.481 billion in discretionary budget authority for the Food and Drug Administration. This is $16.3 million below the fiscal year 2012 level of $2.497 billion and $31.2 million below the request. Food safety is funded at $866 million, or $10.8 million above the President's request. FDA funding also includes a $10 million increase for food and drug inspections in China, and a $3.5 million increase for advancing medical countermeasures for a total of $23.5 for this critical program.

The bill includes $1.15 billion for P.L. 480 grants, a reduction of $316.3 million below fiscal year 2012, and $250 million below the budget request, and $180.3 million for McGovern-Dole.

The bill includes $180.4 million for the CFTC, a decrease of $24.9 million below the fiscal year 2012 level of $205.3 million, and $127.6 million below the request. The bill includes set-asides of $39.7 million for IT, and $1.4 million for the Office of Inspector General. Language is included that requires CFTC to submit a report implementation and sequencing of rules, regulations, and orders, and related cost benefit analyses, under section 716 and 737 of Dodd-Frank, and related amendments.

For Farm Credit Administration, the recommendation of $59.8 million for a limitation on administrative expenses is $1.2 million below the fiscal year 2012 enacted level of $61 million and $3.5 million below the request.

The bill includes legislative provisions that prohibits USDA from drafting rules related to the Packers and Stockyards Act; requires USDA and CFTC to submit spending plans within 15 days of enactment; and allows the Secretary of Agriculture to maintain deregulated status for a previously-approved biotech product during a court challenge.

In closing, I want to thank the staff on both sides of the aisle for their work, and I yield back.


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