Ag appropriations bills advance

Ag appropriations bills advance

THE House Appropriations Committee held a markup for the fiscal 2014 Agriculture & Food & Drug Administration funding bill June 13, and the Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittee marked up its version of the bill last Tuesday, with the Senate Appropriations Committee approving the bill June 20 on a 23-6 vote.

The House bill, which is expected to go to the House floor later this month, provides $19.5 billion for the discretionary programs under the subcommittee's jurisdiction — $1.3 billion less than last year's enacted discretionary funding level but nearly equal to post-sequestration funding levels.

Mandatory program spending for 2014 is estimated at nearly $120 billion, which is $2.6 billion below President Barack Obama's request and $52 million below the 2013 enacted level.

Thirteen amendments were passed in the House, including an amendment from Rep. James Moran (D., Va.) that would prevent funding for inspections of horse slaughter facilities.

An amendment from Rep. Steve Womack (R., Ark.) was adopted by a 29-17 vote that prohibits funding for the Grain Inspection, Packers & Stockyards Administration to implement certain regulations that would adversely affect livestock producers. The bill was approved by the full committee on a voice vote.

The Senate bill sets spending at $20.93 billion, $1.6 billion more than the House bill and $420 million more than in fiscal 2013.

A statement from the Senate subcommittee noted that "multiple research programs are streamlined in order to make their administration and outcomes more efficient and effective."

Many programs were also streamlined or eliminated, a summary of the bill stated.

The House bill would keep funding steady for the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), providing $803.5 million.

The Senate bill provides $825.8 million for APHIS, $3.9 million more than in fiscal 2013. Funding includes a $20 million request to implement a nationwide program to control and eradicate feral swine.

The Food & Drug Administration would receive almost $2.5 billion in total discretionary funding in the House bill and a $27 million bump for food safety activities.

The Senate version provides $2.552 billion for FDA, an increase of $96 million from fiscal 2013.

On food aid, the Senate bill eliminates approximately 17% of monetization ($20 million) and allows more flexibility in administrative activities for development programs under the Food for Peace program. The bill also includes an increase of $18 million for emergency purposes.

The House bill funds Food for Peace at $1.15 billion.

Neither bill includes the President's request to move the program to the jurisdiction of the U.S. Agency for International Development.

The Senate bill provides $2.25 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service and National Institute of Food & Agriculture, whereas the House bill provides $2.5 billion for agricultural research programs.

Volume:85 Issue:25

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