Chair Bishop Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Funding Bill

2021-06-30 13:42

Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Appropriations Committee's markup of the fiscal year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill:

I am pleased we are here to consider the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. Before we begin, I would like to thank Ranking Member Fortenberry. His passion for agriculture makes him a great partner during this process, and once again, we’ve come together to produce a great bill. I would also like to thank Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger.

The work done by the agencies and staff funded in this bill touches the lives of every citizen. That work was on full display over the past year. From USDA’s domestic nutrition programs adapting to feed millions of children as they learned from home, to issuing moratoriums on foreclosures to address the housing crisis brought on by COVID-19. A large number of USDA veterinary medical officers and other qualified personnel were deployed around the country to help vaccinate people. And of course, we all know of FDA’s tireless work to review COVID-19 vaccine applications and tests.

Our fiscal year 2022 allocation is $26.55 billion, which is $2.85 billion over fiscal year 2021.

This bill addresses three key priorities.

First, the bill provides nearly $400 million in investments solely to ensure equitable participation in USDA programs, 16% higher than the administration’s impressive request. Among those investments are increases at our 1890 and 1994 land grant universities, and Hispanic serving institutions and a healthy increase for USDA’s Office of Civil Rights above the budget request.

Second, it provides nearly $350 million to address the impacts of climate change. The investments in this bill will help lay the foundation for sustainable agricultural improvements to mitigate the consequences of climate change while maintaining high levels of production.

Third, it fully funds federal pay costs and rebuilds the leadership offices at USDA that have been decimated over the past several years.  These changes will ensure that program levels are not reduced by having to absorb pay costs and are properly managed.

Supporting rural communities remains a top priority. In total, the bill provides nearly $4.7 billion in budget authority for rural development programs, including funding well over the 2021 level for rural broadband. COVID-19 showed the country that far too many Americans still lack access to adequate internet service. The bill once again includes the 10-20-30 language that is designed to target federal resources to rural communities in need. Persistent poverty communities have been neglected for too long. This provision will assist in reversing that and help these communities thrive.

The bill provides over $2.9 billion for farm and conservation programs, including $60 million to resolve ownership and succession of farmland issues, also known as the ‘heirs’ property’ issue, which predominantly affects black farmers and has led to the loss of millions of acres of privately held farmland.

The bill provides $3.4 billion for agricultural research, which helps the U.S. to produce the most abundant and affordable food in the world.

The bill continues our steadfast commitment to our country’s tradition of humanitarian assistance by including $1.74 billion for Food for Peace grants and $245 million for the McGovern-Dole program.

The bill fully funds the SNAP, Child Nutrition, and WIC programs to meet expected participation in FY 2022. It invests $834 million to increase the amounts of fruits and vegetables in the WIC food package. The bill provides additional protections for SNAP recipients by providing a “such sums” appropriations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022 to ensure SNAP does not run out of money.

In this bill, we provide $3.45 billion for the Food and Drug Administration. Within this total, there is an increase of $72 million to address the opioid crisis, rare cancers, and to resume unannounced in-person inspections in the two largest foreign drug manufacturing countries. It also includes a $65 million increase to avoid or more quickly respond to food outbreaks and address heavy metals in baby food.

And finally - the Community Project Funding requests. The bill provides funding for 111 projects to address the needs identified by Members in their districts.

Our bill will help Americans from all walks of life. I ask for your support of this bill.

117th Congress