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Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approves FY 2009 funding legislation


, Jun 19 -

  Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee approves FY 2009 funding legislation with big spending increases, more government interference

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture today approved its annual funding legislation for fiscal year 2009.  The bill contains a total of $20.6 billion in funding the Agriculture Department and related agencies, which is $1.96 billion over last year’s level and $922 million over the President’s amended request.

Appropriations Ranking Republican Jerry Lewis praised some of the provisions in the bill, including funding for important nutrition programs at $7 billion, which is $657 million more than last year. However, Lewis also warned that the total cost of the total legislation was too high.

“Frankly, the overall funding level for this bill is not something the American taxpayer can afford,” Lewis said. “While there are some important, necessary programs in this bill, in this time of economic uncertainty we should reduce – not escalate – our spending.”

Lewis also said that there are programs in the bill that could be scaled back or eliminated, such as the farm labor construction grants and loans, because they are duplicative, not widely used, no longer necessary, or have a proven track record of poor performance.

“Big government provisions, along with excessive and unnecessary spending, make this legislation a tough pill to swallow,” Lewis said. “I look forward to working with my fellow Committee members to improve this bill as we go through a regular and proper appropriations process.”