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house Bill H.R. 4800

The Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA Spending Bill for Fiscal Year 2015

Argument in favor

Keeps spending low in tight economic times. A big increase for overseas food aid. No significant cuts to agricultural research. Maintains spending levels on food safety and inspection.

Argument opposed

Makes cuts to: renewable energy, health and nutrition programs for children and pregnant women, loans to small businesses in rural areas, and conservation programs.

What is House Bill H.R. 4800?

The agriculture and rural development spending bill for Fiscal Year 2015. This bill covers everything from agricultural research and conservation programs to food safety inspection programs and loans for rural businesses.


Additionally, the bill covers agency funding for the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the Farm Service Agency (FSA), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Lastly, this bill is what provides funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, formerly known as the food stamp program. This mandatory spending makes up the surplus of the bill's total cost. The bill is $3 billion below the cost of last year’s bill, and $1.5 billion below President Obama’s requested funding level. 

Impact

The bill impacts myriad demographics and a multitude of facets of American society, including those in rural areas seeking housing and loan assistance, the roughly 47 million Americans receiving food assistance, poultry and livestock growers, conservations programs, and the FDA.

Cost of House Bill H.R. 4800

$142.50 Billion
The bill's overall cost is $142.5 billion, with $20.9 in discretionary spending. According to Washington Watch, the bill costs a family of four $1,557.11

More Information

Of Note:

According to USDA data, the number of Americans receiving assistance through SNAP fell by 1.2 million between October 2013 and February 2014.


One contentious issue with this year’s bill is what is known as GIPSA rider: an amendment that pits the rights of poultry and livestock producers against large meatpacking and poultry companies. You can read about it—along with a contentious change to the school lunch program—in more depth here.


In Detail:

The below bill highlights are taken from the House Committee on Appropriations' bill summary:

Bill Highlights:

The legislation focuses investments in programs that support U.S. agriculture, boost rural communities, maintain food and drug safety, and provide nutrition for children, families, and seniors. In total, the bill provides $142.5 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding – $1.5 billion below the President’s request and $3 billion below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Discretionary funding alone in the bill is $20.9 billion, the same as the fiscal year 2014 enacted level.

Agricultural Research – The bill provides $2.65 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This is approximately equal to the fiscal year 2014 enacted funding level. This funding will support research to help mitigate and stop devastating crop diseases, and improve food safety and water quality. The funding will also support responsible investments in the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities.

Animal and Plant Health – The legislation includes $870.7 million – $45.8 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level – for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This funding will provide support for programs to help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases, and includes increases to fight citrus greening and an epidemic porcine virus.

Conservation Programs – The bill provides $869 million – $43 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level – to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. This includes $25 million – an increase of $13 million – in infrastructure rehabilitation funding to help small communities meet current safety standards for watershed projects.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) – The legislation provides $1.5 billion for FSA, which is $27 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding will support various farm, conservation, loan, and emergency programs.

Rural Development – The bill provides a total of $2.6 billion for rural development programs, which is $178 million above the fiscal year 2015 requested level. These programs help create an environment for economic growth by supporting basic rural infrastructure, providing loans to increase opportunities for rural businesses and industries, and helping balance the playing field in local rural housing markets. The bill also establishes a new Chief Risk Officer to oversee and be accountable for the $200 billion rural development loan portfolio.

Business and Industry Loans – The legislation includes $45 million – $22 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level – for the rural business and industry loan program. This funding will support $881 million in loans to help small businesses in rural areas.

Rural Infrastructure – The legislation includes responsible investments in infrastructure needs to help rural areas of the country access basic utilities. This includes $1.3 billion – an increase of $85 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level – for rural water and waste program loans, and $606 million for grants, an increase of $145 million above current levels. In addition, $6.2 billion is provided for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans, the same level as fiscal year 2014.

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 2014 enacted level and the President’s request. In addition, the bill includes $1 billion in direct loans – an increase of $142 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $682 million above the President’s request. These loans provide low-income rural families – many of whom would have few loan options for purchasing a home because of their geographical location – with home loan assistance. In addition, $1.1 billion 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 – approximately the same as the 2014 enacted level. These mandatory inspection activities help ensure the safety and productivity of the country’s $186 billion meat and poultry industry, and keep safe, healthy food on American tables. The funding provided will maintain more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities across the country. 

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA receives a total of almost $2.6 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, an increase of $23 million over the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Total funding for the FDA, including revenue from user fees, is $4.5 billion, $98 million above fiscal year 2014. Within this total, food safety activities are increased by $25 million, and drug safety activities are increased by $12 million.  

Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) – Included in the bill is $218 million for the CFTC, an increase of approximately $3 million above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $62 million below the President’s budget request. The increase is targeted to necessary information technology improvements.

International Food Programs – The legislation contains $1.7 billion for overseas food aid.  This includes a $66 million increase above the President’s request for “Food for Peace” grants, and a $13 million increase over the request for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.

Food and Nutrition Programs – The legislation contains discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, 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 $6.6 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which is $93 million below the fiscal year 2014 enacted level and $200 million below the President’s request. This program provides supplemental nutritional foods needed by approximately 8.5 million pregnant and nursing mothers, babies and young children each month. The bill reflects USDA’s estimates of declining enrollments in the program, and will not prevent any eligible participant from receiving benefits. The legislation also includes $25 million for states to transfer from paper vouchers to a more efficient electronic benefit transfer (EBT) system that will help identify waste or abuse within the program. Language is included to ensure that all varieties of fresh vegetables, including white potatoes, are eligible for purchase through the WIC program.

Child nutrition programs – The bill provides for $20.5 billion in required mandatory funding – which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee – for child nutrition programs. This is $1.2 billion above the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. This funding will provide free or reduced-price school lunches and snacks for 30.4 million children who qualify for the program. Responding to the requests of local schools, the bill includes language requiring USDA to establish a process that will allow schools demonstrating an economic hardship to seek a temporary waiver from compliance with certain nutrition regulations during the 2014-15 school year.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – The bill provides for $82.3 billion in required mandatory spending – which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee – for SNAP. This is $81 million above last year’s level and $2 billion below the President’s budget request. 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. This program provides food assistance to more than 47 million Americans on average every month. In addition, strong oversight language is included to require the Secretary of Agriculture to report on actions to help weed out and eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the program. This includes a directive to ban fraudulent retailers, and required enforcement of a ban on certain recruitment activities and advertisements or outreach with foreign governments.

AKA

Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015

Official Title

Making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2015, and for other purposes.

bill Progress


  • Not enacted
    The President has not signed this bill
  • The senate has not voted
  • The house has not voted
      house Committees
      Committee on Appropriations
    IntroducedJune 4th, 2014
    [THIS IS OUTRAGEOUS!!! Folks, how do you like the idea of you and your family eating Monsanto's WEED KILLER?! Monsanto (which has been bought by BAYER) and our government must be held ACCOUNTABLE for allowing this to happen! This poses a serious threat to our HEALTH, since glyphosate is a known CARCINOGEN!] FDA Finds #Glyphosate in #Honey • Even though the FDA annually examines foods for residues of many pesticides, it has declined to test for glyphosate residues for DECADES. It was only in February of this year that the agency said it would start some limited testing for glyphosate residues. That came after many independent researchers started conducting their own testing on various foods two years ago, finding glyphosate in an array of products, including flour, cereal and oatmeal. • Some of the honey tested by the FDA had glyphosate residues at 107 parts per billion, well more than the 50 parts per billion set as a maximum allowed in the European Union, the documents state. • In addition to honey, the records show government residue experts discussing the prevalence of glyphosate found in soybean samples and the belief that there could be a lot of "violation for glyphosate" residue levels in U.S. crops. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (#FDA) has found residues of the weed killer glyphosate in samples of U.S. honey, according to documents obtained by the consumer advocacy group U.S. Right to Know through a Freedom of Information Act request. Some samples showed residue levels double the legally allowed limit in the European Union. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carey-gillam/fda-finds-monsantos-weed_b_12008680.html https://www.usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FDA1.pdf https://usrtk.org/ There is no legal tolerance level for glyphosate in honey in the U.S., so any amount of detectable glyphosate in honey could technically be considered illegal. Some of the honey tested by the FDA had glyphosate residues at 107 parts per billion, well more than the 50 parts per billion set as a maximum allowed in the European Union, the documents state. https://www.usrtk.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/FDAblankhoney.pdf Records obtained from the FDA, as well as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, by U.S. Right to Know detail a range of revelations about the federal government's efforts to get a handle on rising concerns about glyphosate. In addition to honey, the records show government residue experts discussing the prevalence of glyphosate found in soybean samples and the belief that there could be a lot of "violation for glyphosate" residue levels in U.S. crops. http://www.ecowatch.com/glyphosate-vaccines-1999343362.html Glyphosate, the key ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide, is the most widely used herbicide in the world and concerns about glyphosate residues in food increased after the World Health Organization in 2015 said its cancer experts determined glyphosate is a probable human carcinogen. Other international scientists have raised concerns about how heavy use of glyphosate is impacting human health and the environment. http://www.ecowatch.com/bayer-buys-monsanto-2004657068.html https://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/iarcnews/pdf/MonographVolume112.pdf http://www.ecowatch.com/iarc-scientist-reaffirms-glyphosates-link-to-cancer-as-monsantos-reque-1906676980.html Even though the FDA annually examines foods for residues of many #pesticides, it has declined to test for glyphosate residues for decades. It was only in February of this year that the agency said it would start some limited testing for glyphosate residues. That came after many independent researchers started conducting their own testing on various foods two years ago, finding glyphosate in an array of products, including flour, cereal and oatmeal. http://www.ecowatch.com/fda-to-start-testing-monsantos-glyphosate-in-food-1882175426.html http://www.ecowatch.com/quaker-oats-accused-of-being-deceptive-and-misleading-after-glyphosate-1891128136.html http://www.ecowatch.com/fda-glyphosate-honey-2005556150.html
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