The House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies considered the Chairman’s mark for the fiscal year 2017 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill on April 13. A full committee markup is 10:30 a.m. April 19.
The legislation funds agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs.
The bill totals $21.3 billion in discretionary funding, which is $451 million lower than the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and $281 million below President Obama’s budget request.
“America has the safest and most plentiful food supply, and the most cutting-edge pharmaceutical industry in the world, but that doesn’t happen by accident. Our farmers, ranchers, and food and drug producers are the backbone of a healthy nation. This bill recognizes their importance by investing in programs to support these critical industries, and by reining in unnecessary regulations that slow economic growth, hold back production, and dampen innovation,” said House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky.
“There is not a single person in the United States whose life is not touched by agriculture,” said Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt, R-Alabama. “This bill ensures that agriculture continues to be impactful from the field, to the family dinner table, to the sprouting of new business and opportunities across our nation."
The bill allows for $147.7 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding – $2.3 billion below the president’s request and $7.2 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
-Agricultural Research – The bill provides $2.85 billion for agriculture research programs. Included in this level is a $25 million increase for USDA’s premier competitive research program – the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
-Animal and Plant Health – The legislation includes $934 million – $29.6 million above the president’s budget request and $36.4 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level – for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
-Conservation Programs – The bill provides $868 million, including $12 million for infrastructure rehabilitation to help small communities meet current safety standards for watershed projects.
-Farm Service Agency – The legislation provides $1.51 billion for FSA, which is the same as the fiscal year 2016 level.
-Rural Development – The bill provides a total of $2.88 billion for rural development programs, which is $113 million above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level.
-Business and Industry Loans – The legislation includes a loan level of $920 million –the same as the fiscal year 2016 enacted level – for the rural business and industry loan program.
-Rural Infrastructure – This includes $1.25 billion – the same as the fiscal year 2016 enacted level – for rural water and waste program loans, and $533 million for grants and related costs, an increase of $11 million above current levels and $71.6 million above the request. In addition, $6.94 billion is provided for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans, the same level as fiscal year 2016.
-Rural Housing Loans and Rental Assistance – The bill provides a total of $24 billion in loan authority for the Single Family Housing guaranteed loan program, which is equal to the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and the president’s request. In addition, the bill includes $1 billion in direct loans – an increase of $100 million from the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and the president’s request – to meet increased demand. In addition, $1.4 billion, an increase of $15 million above current levels, is provided for rental assistance for affordable rental housing for low-income families and the elderly in rural communities.
-Food Safety and Inspection Service – The legislation includes $1 billion for food safety and inspection programs – an increase of $15.5 million above the 2016 enacted level.
-Food and Drug Administration – The FDA receives a total of $2.7 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, an increase of $33 million over the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. Total funding for the FDA, including revenue from user fees, is $4.78 billion – $97.4 million above fiscal year 2016. Within this total, food safety activities are increased by $33.2 million, and medical product safety activities are increased by $9.4 million.
-The bill also includes a policy provision delaying the implementation of a new menu labeling regulation by a year to give restaurants, local supermarkets, grocery stores, and similar retail establishments adequate time to comply with the law.
-Commodity Futures Trading Commission – Included in the bill is $250 million for the CFTC, the same as the 2016 enacted level and $80 million below the president’s budget request.
-International Programs – The legislation contains $1.9 billion for overseas food aid and to promote U.S. agricultural exports. This includes $1.5 billion – a $116 million increase above the president’s request – for “Food for Peace” grants, and $202 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.
-Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – The bill provides $6.35 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which is the same as the fiscal year 2016 enacted level and the president’s request.
-Child nutrition programs – The bill provides for $23.2 billion in required mandatory funding for child nutrition programs. This is $1 billion above the fiscal year 2016 enacted level. This funding will provide free or reduced-price school lunches and snacks for 32 million children who qualify for the program. The bill provides more than $628 million for the Summer Food Service Program to ensure low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session.
-Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – The bill provides for $79.7 billion in required mandatory spending for SNAP. This is $1.2 billion below last year’s level and $2.02 billion below the president’s budget request, reflecting declining enrollment. The total includes $3 billion for the SNAP reserve fund, $2 billion below the president’s request, which is used to cover any unexpected participation increases.
-The bill also provides $19 million in discretionary funding to purchase commodities for the emergency food assistance program (TEFAP). This will maintain level funding for the program.
For the complete text of the Subcommittee Draft of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill, visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/uploadedfiles/bills-114hr-sc-ap-fy2017-agriculture-subcommitteedraft.pdf
Source: House Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies