Chairman Bishop Statement to Rules Committee on Six-Bill Appropriations Minibus
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Chairman Sanford Bishop (D-GA-02) today delivered the following remarks to the House Rules Committee in support of an appropriate rule for the House to considerH.R. 8294, a minibus of six fiscal year 2023 appropriations bills:
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman and Ranking Member Cole.
On behalf of the subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, I am proud to present our division of the bill, and to discuss the important investments we have made.
Our fiscal year 2023 allocation is $27.2 billion, compared to the fiscal year 2022 enacted level of $25.125 billion – an 8% increase.
Mr. Chairman, I will start with an issue I know you care deeply about – food security. Our bill fully funds the domestic nutrition programs, including SNAP, Child Nutrition, and WIC. The bill takes two significant steps to improve the food safety net. First, it provides additional protections for SNAP recipients by providing a “such sums” appropriations for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2023 to ensure SNAP does not run out of money. Second, it allows USDA to maintain the current amounts of fruits and vegetables in the WIC food package.
Our bill also maintains strong investments for our international assistance programs, including $1.8 billion for Food for Peace grants and $265 million for the McGovern-Dole program. Both are record high levels.
The bill continues to make significant investments in our rural communities by providing $4.2 billion in budget authority – and more than $47 billion worth of loans – for rural development programs. This includes rural water and wastewater infrastructure improvements, and support for community facilities. The bill includes over $550 million for the expansion of broadband service, including $450 million for the Reconnect program as we continue to prioritize closing the digital divide. The bill again includes the 10-20-30 anti-poverty provision for Rural Development programs to ensure communities most in need are not left behind. And the bill also creates two new lending programs for hard-to-reach communities.
The bill provides $3.8 billion for agricultural research, which helps the United States to produce the most abundant and affordable food in the world. This funding includes $500 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, a historic high. Compared to fiscal year 2022 levels, the 1890 programs are increased by $29 million (13%); the 1994 and Tribal programs in the research accounts are increased by $15 million (53%), and the Hispanic Serving Institutions education grants program is increased by $6 million (43%).
There is 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 Food and Drug Administration is funded at $3.6 billion in discretionary funding. Within this total, there are several important investments, including increases to address the opioid crisis, ALS (“Lou Gehrig’s disease”) clinical trials, unannounced inspections of foreign drug manufacturing facilities, the safety of infant formula, and the Office of Minority Health.
As I always note, the jurisdiction of the agriculture bill is far-reaching and touches the lives of every citizen. Every year, we strive to make key investments to strength our farming and rural communities and to support our vulnerable populations. This year is no different, and I am proud of this bill.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the Committee. I want to thank our leadership of both the majority and minority of this Committee and of the Appropriations Committee. I want to thank my Ranking Member, Dr. Harris and all our staff for their hard work. With that, I look forward to answering any questions you may have.