The Appropriations Committee today passed its Agriculture bill. After the vote, Congressman Alan Nunnelee (R-Miss.) released the following statement in support of the legislation:
"Agriculture helps drive the economic train in Mississippi. This bill allows for U.S. competiveness in agricultural research, supports rural communities, and maintains a safe food and drug supply," Nunnelee said.
Congressman Nunnelee also voiced his support for moving all 12 appropriations bills through the House, rather than relying on continuing resolutions (CRs).
"CRs prevent the legislative branch from exercising oversight of the executive," Nunnelee said. "As we have seen over the last few months, the executive branch is in dire need of increased accountability. Passing appropriations bills in line with the House Budget is the best way to reform government spending."
Highlights of the bill include:
- Cuts spending by $52 million compared to last year and $1 billion compared to the 2009 level.
- Strong oversight of the food stamp program: Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to report on actions to help weed out and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the program, such as a directive to ban fraudulent vendors, and a prohibition on advertisements or outreach with foreign governments.
- Agricultural research: $2.5 billion to support research and to help stop and mitigate devastating crop diseases and improve food safety and water quality. The bill also maintains responsible investments in the land-grant colleges and universities.
- Animal and plant health: $803.5 million for programs that help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and disease that can be crippling to U.S. producers and entire agricultural industries.
- Conservation programs: $823 million to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land; this also includes funding for dam rehabilitation to help small communities ensure their small watershed projects meet current safety standards.
- Rural development: $2.2 billion for rural development programs to include funding for rural water and waste program loans and grants.