The U.S. Senate unanimously passed an amendment today introduced by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (Mo.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.) to the Continuing Resolution (CR) that will protect private sector jobs by solving a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). Senators Blunt and Pryor serve as the top members of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies.
"I'm very pleased the Senate unanimously passed this important amendment, which will help protect every family from paying higher food costs, and ensure hardworking Americans who make a living at these food inspection facilities don't see their wages cut," said Blunt.
"After much hard work, I'm pleased to see that the Senate has unanimously approved our amendment," Pryor said. "By solving this funding gap, we've been able to protect private sector jobs, keep food prices affordable, and help nearly 40,000 employees in my state alone."
The Pryor/Blunt amendment will protect Americans' jobs at meat, poultry, and egg production facilities nationwide. It's estimated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) projected food inspector furloughs would have closed nearly 6,300 food inspection facilities across America. As a result, over 500,000 industry workers would have lost nearly $400 million in wages.
The amendment transfers $55 million in existing agriculture funds to FSIS in order to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed. These facilities are required by law to have federal inspectors on the production line in order to operate. It adds no additional cost to the bill. Instead, it moves one-time funding for school equipment grants and deferred maintenance on buildings and facilities at USDA.