House subcommittee approves FY 2013 agriculture spending bill

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 6, 2012 - The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture cleared on a voice vote $140.7 billion in FY 2013 discretionary and mandatory funding for the USDA and FDA. The bill now goes to the House Appropriations Committee.

The subcommittee held 11 hearings covering all the mission areas of the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, said Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston.

He said some of the “common sense reforms” included in the FY 2013 bill include a requirement to include OIG's fraud hotline on SNAP EBT cards and WIC coupons, requirements that the Secretary verify those being approved for certain USDA programs  have not been permanently debarred, and a directive to establish uniform income standards in the WIC program. 

The discretionary allocation in the budget authority is $19.405 billion, a decrease of $365 million below the fiscal year 2012 funding level, and a decrease of $1.7 billion below the President's request.  Within this total, is a security allocation of $1.33 billion for international food assistance programs, Kingston said.  Mandatory spending in the bill totals $121.3 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion above the fiscal year 2012 level, and a decrease of $2 billion below the request.

“This legislation builds on the bipartisan work of our subcommittee to support agriculture and nutrition, and increase efficiency and effectiveness at the Agriculture Department and the agencies we oversee,” Kingston said in his opening statement today.  “It will help ensure a safe and abundant food and drug supply and spur rural economic growth while checking the growth of government using common sense reforms.”

The subcommittee held 11 hearings covering all the mission areas of the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  We took testimony from 29 witnesses, and the public record of those hearings will soon be available. 

According to the subcommittee's information, the FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes the following: 

Food and Nutrition Programs - The legislation contains discretionary funding, as well as required mandatory funding, for food and nutrition programs within the Department of Agriculture. This includes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Nutrition programs.

WIC - The bill provides $6.9 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which is $303.5 million above last year's level and $119 million below the President's request.

Child nutrition programs - The bill provides for $19.7 billion in required mandatory funding - which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee - for child nutrition programs. This is $1.5 billion above last year's level and $38 million below the President's request.

SNAP - The bill provides for $80 billion in required mandatory spending - which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee - for SNAP. This is $408 million below last year's level and $2 billion below the President's budget request.

Agriculture Research - The bill provides $2.5 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture. This is a reduction of $35 million below last year's level.

Animal and Plant Health - The legislation includes $787 million - $33 million below last year's level - for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

Conservation Programs - The bill provides $812 million - a decrease of $16 million below last year's level - for the Natural Resources Conservation Service. The bill also provides $14.7 million in conservation funding for dam rehabilitation.

Rural Economic Development - The bill provides a total of $2.1 billion for rural development programs - a decrease of $180 million from last year's level.

Food Safety and Inspection Service - The legislation includes $996 million for food safety and inspection programs - which is equal to the President's budget request and a decrease of $9 million below last year's level.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) - The FDA receives a total of almost $ 2.5 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, a cut of $16.3 million, or 0.7%,  below last year's level. Total funding for the FDA, including user fees, is $3.8 billion.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) - The legislation provides $1.5 billion for the FSA, which is $23.8 million below last year's level.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) - Included in the bill is $180 million for the CFTC, a cut of $25 million below last year's level and $128 million below the President's budget request.

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