Chairman Bishop Statement at Full Committee Markup of Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Funding Bill
Congressman Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Chairman 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 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill:
“Good morning, I am pleased we are here to consider the Fiscal Year 2023 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. I would like to begin by thanking Acting Ranking Member Dr. Harris, who has been a great partner in this process, and I have enjoyed working with him to produce a strong bill. I would also like to thank Chair DeLauro and Ranking Member Granger for their continued leadership.
“Today, we are considering a bill which touches the lives of every single American. We all eat the food, rely on the medicine and medical devices, and use the fibers and materials made possible by this bill. The bill invests in our rural communities as well as the institutions that develop our agricultural sector and safeguard our medicine and food are vital to our country’s well-being. And the bill provides vital safety nets for our most vulnerable populations.
“The fiscal year 2023 allocation is $27.2 billion, compared to the fiscal year 2022 enacted level of $25.125 billion – an 8.3 percent increase.
“Supporting our rural communities remains a top priority. In total, the bill provides more than $4.2 billion in budget authority for Rural Development programs to fund critical infrastructure, such as water and wastewater systems, and rural housing needs.
“The bill invests more than $545 million for rural broadband expansion, including $450 million for the ReConnect program. The bill creates two new lending programs for hard-to-reach communities. The first offers a 1% interest rate on water and waste disposal loan projects in distressed areas, making these desperately needed improvements more financially viable for distressed communities. The second program is designed to improve home lending opportunities for Native American Tribes where, traditionally, lending has been difficult and complex. These efforts will further maximize Rural Development programs within the communities they are intended to serve.
“The bill also provides over $3.1 billion for farm and conservation programs. The investments in this bill support sustainable agricultural improvements to mitigate the consequences of climate change while maintaining high levels of production.
“The bill provides a historic level of funding for agricultural research, including $500 million for The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. And I am proud of the investments we make in our 1890 and 1994 land grant universities, and Hispanic serving institutions – all of which are significantly over their 2022 levels.
“The bill continues our steadfast commitment to our country’s long tradition of humanitarian assistance by including $1.8 billion for Food for Peace grants and $265 million for the McGovern-Dole program. Both are historic highs.
“The bill fully funds the SNAP, Child Nutrition, and WIC programs to meet expected participation in FY 2023. It continues enhanced fruit and vegetable benefits for women and children as well as provides additional protections for SNAP recipients. Taken together, these investments strengthen the food safety net and help families put healthy, nutritious meals on the table.
“In this bill, we provide $3.66 billion for the Food and Drug Administration. Within this total, there are several important investments, including increases to address the opioid crisis, and for ALS clinical trials, unannounced inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities, the safety of infant formula, and the Office of Minority Health. The bill fully funds the request for work on chemicals in human food.
“And finally - the Community Project Funding requests. The bill provides funding for 134 projects, totaling over $192 million.
“This bill will help Americans from all walks of life. I ask for your support of this bill.
“I want to thank my personal staff, and the majority and minority staffs of the subcommittee and the full committee for their extraordinary work.
“Thank you, and I yield back.”