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Hearing of the House Appropriations Committee - FY 2014 Budget Request from the Marketing and Regulatory Program Mission Area of USDA


Location: Washington, DC

Today, we begin our review of the fiscal year 2014 budget request from the agencies of USDA's Marketing and Regulatory Program mission area. I want to welcome Mr. Ed Avalos, USDA's Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Programs (MRP); Mr. Kevin Shea, Acting Administrator, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Mr. Larry Mitchell, Administrator, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration; Mr. David Shipman, Administrator, Agricultural Marketing Service; and, Mr. Mike Young, USDA's Budget Director.

Our hearing today provides us with an opportunity to review the programs, operations, and funding for a mission area at USDA with one of the most diverse portfolios. On the one hand, we have GIPSA with a dual function of regulating livestock and poultry markets and facilitating the marketing of grains and grain products around the world; we have AMS with the broad charge to facilitate the efficient and competitive marketing of all types of agricultural products;and lastly, we have APHIS with a mix of everything agriculture - from keeping plant pests and animal disease out of the U.S. to regulating biotechnology to fighting non-tariff trade barriers.

Not only is the MRP mission varied in its responsibility, but the funding source for this mission is unique in that it receives funding from discretionary accounts, mandatory accounts, voluntary user fees, license fees, and reimbursable agreements. The FY 2014 President's Budget seeks total funding of $2.4 billion from all of these sources, of which $925.5 million is for discretionary programs. Your total increase over the FY 2013 level is $53 million or 6.1 percent. The AMS request calls for an increase of 14 percent, the GIPSA budget an increase of nearly 9 percent, and the APHIS request an increase of 5.2 percent. The increased requests may even be higher once we factor in the savings used in this proposal to help offset increases. This subcommittee will need to determine if these proposed decrease levels are in fact real or they areaccounting gimmicks used to get to a lower bottom line. While this Subcommittee is keenly aware of the hard budget decisions made over the past few years and achievements made in budget savings across the mission area, it will be likely be a real challenge to support these increased levels.

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