Chairman Kingston Prepared Statement on FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Act

Jun 6, 2011

"We have before us today the Chairman’s mark of the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bill and report for Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. Members and staffs have had 24 hours to review the bill language. Staff has had an opportunity to review the report.

"Our discretionary 302(b) allocation in budget authority is $17.25 billion, and we are exactly at that level. This is a tough allocation and it represents funding cuts across the entire bill.

"But we have to face reality, and the reality is that America is at a crossroads. For every dollar we spend, 42 cents has to be borrowed. The gross national debt is now 97 percent of GDP and we are rapidly becoming the next Greece, Spain, or Portugal. Internationally, this weakens our standing as a global leader and our lenders, such as China, may seek to restructure our debt if we don’t take care of it ourselves. Domestically, it hurts job creation, smothers the private sector and erodes some of our basic personal freedoms.

"This subcommittee has begun making some of the tough choices necessary to right the ship. We have taken spending to below pre-stimulus, pre-bailout levels while ensuring USDA, FDA, CFTC, and other agencies are provided the necessary resources to fulfill their duties. Our members have worked to root out waste and duplication and, where they have strayed from their core mission, we rein in agencies so they may better focus on the responsibilities for which they are intended. In doing so, we balance the urgent need for fiscal restraint with the necessity to provide an abundant food supply, robust trade, prudent conservation measures, and strong rural communities.

"In order to thoroughly review the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2012 and examine how funds appropriated in previous years have been spent and managed, we held 11 hearings covering all the mission areas, agencies and programs of the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

"In that regard, I would like to thank all subcommittee members, and recognize them for their work so far this year. On the majority side: Mr. Latham; Mrs. Emerson; Mr. Aderholt; Mrs. Lummis; Mr. Nunnelee; and Mr. Graves. On the minority side, my good friend and ranking Member, Mr. Farr; Ms. DeLauro; Mr. Bishop; and Ms. Kaptur.

"We tried to address Members’ concerns and requests the best we could under the rules of the Committee and the House. There are no earmarks in the bill."