AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2004-CONTINUED
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I thank the distinguished Senator from Utah.
AMENDMENT NO. 2080
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I call up amendment No. 2080, which is at the desk.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, the pending amendment is set aside. The clerk will report.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
The Senator from Pennsylvania [Mr. SPECTER] proposes an amendment numbered 2080.
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that reading of the amendment be dispensed with.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
The amendment is as follows:
(Purpose: To limit the use of funds to allocate the rate of price support between the purchase prices for nonfat dry milk and butter in a manner that does not support the price of milk at the rate prescribed by law)
On page 79, between lines 7 and 8, insert the following:
SEC. 7__. LIMITATION ON ALLOCATION OF PURCHASE PRICES FOR BUTTER AND NONFAT DRY MILK.
None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to pay the salaries or expenses of employees of the Department of Agriculture to allocate the rate of price support between the purchase prices for nonfat dry milk and butter in a manner does not support the price of milk in accordance with section 1501(b) of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 7981(b)).
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, this is an amendment which I am offering following a letter on July 8, 2003, to the Secretary of Agriculture, cosigned by some 20 Senators. This amendment provides that the Secretary must take immediate action concerning the Commodity Credit Corporation's purchase price for dairy products. The market price for individual products has fallen below the support levels, thus allowing the price of milk products to fall below the statutory level of $9.90 per hundredweight.
In the year 2000, 7 out of 12 months the price was below the $9.90 set at $8.57. In 2002, 4 out of 12 months were below the support price, and currently, in 2003, 6 out of 12 months were below the support price set at $9.11.
This amendment prohibits the expenditures in the Department of Agriculture unless they follow the clear-cut mandate of existing law, which is to have the prices set.
I had understood a few moments ago that this was cleared on both sides, but it may be that there are some objections to be lodged. It is my hope that this can be worked out in the course of the afternoon.
I thank my colleagues for yielding these few minutes. I yield the floor.
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NUTRICORE NORTHEAST AND GEISINGER RURAL AGING STUDY (GRAS)
Mr. SPECTER. Mr. President, I have sought recognition of the chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to bring to his attention two projects that are of great importance to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: NutriCore Northeast and Geisinger Rural Aging Study.
Mr. BENNETT. Mr. President, I am more than willing to acknowledge my colleague from Pennsylvania with regard to his two projects.
Mr. SPECTER. NutriCore Northeast would be a self-managed and ultimately self-sustaining not-for-profit corporation existing in Pennsylvania working in a cooperative research and development agreement with the United States Department of Agriculture to provide a 50-year road map assessing progress toward a healthy and fit populace. Additionally, Geisinger Rural Aging Study is a USDA Agricultural Research Service cohort study of 21,646 rural older Pennsylvanians that would assist them with proper dietary intake as well as formulate a longitudinal nutrition database. I am hopeful that we can work together to consider these requests as you complete action on the bill.
Mr. BENNETT. I thank my distinguished colleague for bringing these important projects to my attention. While this committee is working within a very tight budget, I will give your requests all due consideration.
Mr. SPECTER. I am keenly aware of the tight budgetary constraints under which you are operating, and I appreciate whatever assistance you may be able to provide with respect to these requests.