The 2018 agriculture spending bill approved in committee would provide $20 billion in discretionary spending for the Agriculture Department, Food and Drug Administration and Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The House Appropriations Committee approved the fiscal year 2018 bill by a voice vote July 12. Now it is ready for floor action by the full House. The legislation would provide $1.1 billion less than FY 2017 enacted levels after adjusting for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.
The combined total of both discretionary funds and required mandatory spending for programs like nutrition assistance and crop insurance is $144.9 billion, down $8.5 billion from the fiscal year 2017 enacted level.
The bill would provide $248 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and $5.2 billion to the FDA, including $2.8 billion in discretionary funds.
Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.) said the bill would preserve funding for rural development programs, as well as food, drug and medical device safety, while including provisions to rein in “burdensome over-regulation that harms U.S. food producers and impedes growth in industries important to our economy.”
The bill was advanced with amendments including a requirement that the USDA conduct a food safety equivalency determination for all products eligible for export to the U.S. from Brazil, including raw beef.
Fresh beef from Brazil has come under scrutiny in recent months for issues relating to health, sanitation and animal health, leading to a ban on Brazilian raw beef imports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in June.
An additional amendment would require the USDA to provide a report to the committee detailing the measures officials from China will take to inspect chicken and report disease outbreaks prior to finalizing any rule allowing chicken raised and slaughtered in China to be exported to the U.S.
In May, the Trump administration struck a deal with China that would send more Chinese chicken to the U.S. and more U.S. beef to China, but concerns about the safety of chicken raised and slaughtered in China continue.
The committee didn’t agree to further amendments on commercial horse slaughter and e-cigarette product regulation by the FDA.
Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.) raised an amendment continuing the ban on commercial horse slaughter in the U.S., citing issues of animal abuse and public health.
Roybal-Allard said that 80 percent of Americans oppose commercial horse slaughter; it is impossible to humanely slaughter horses due to their unique biology; and drug residue after veterinary treatment of horses as companion animals would make the meat unfit for human consumption.
Opposing the amendment, Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) said the ban on horse slaughter in the U.S. merely moves the slaughter of horses to Mexico and Canada, where it is not as well-regulated as it would be in the U.S.
Appropriations Committee ranking member Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) offered an amendment to remove language from a rider in the bill which would exempt e-cigarette or “vaping” products from regulation by the FDA.
Lowey said studies had shown that most e-cigarettes contain high levels of formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals, and that the products are especially appealing to young people and new smokers because of the flavors they are offered in.
Lowey said that if the bill were passed with the rider “the FDA would never be able to put the genie back in the bottle.”
Opponents of the amendment, including Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) said e-cigarette products are useful because they help smokers quit.
Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wa.) raised a successful amendment expanding the eligibility of farm workers for housing to migrant workers legally admitted to the U.S. for farm work.
The bill will now advance to the House floor for a vote.
To contact the reporter on this story: Renee Hickman in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Hendrie at email@example.com
Copyright © 2017 The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)