Granger Remarks on Agriculture, Rural Development, and the Food and Drug Administration FY 21 Subcommittee Markup

Jul 6, 2020

I want to thank Chairman Bishop for presenting the fiscal year 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies appropriations bill.

I also want to recognize the work of the Ranking Member of the subcommittee, Mr. Fortenberry.

This bill funds priorities and concerns of Members on both sides of the aisle, and the programs supported have a direct impact on all Americans, every day.

The coronavirus pandemic has shown us the importance of programs funded by this subcommittee.

Support is continued for our farmers and ranchers, which is a lifeline for them during this crisis after many years of economic challenges.

The bill continues the strong focus on expanding internet coverage into rural areas. Previous investments have been critical during this time when people are working from home and need access to more essential services online – such as telemedicine and educational classes.

The bill ensures we have safe and effective drugs, including those that are imported.

We have realized we must do more to bring the manufacturing of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals back to the United States. Far too much of this supply chain is based overseas.

As the Wall Street Journal reported in April, large quantities of critical protective gear intended to be shipped to the United States – face masks, test kits, and other equipment – were blocked for export by the Chinese government.

Mr. Chairman, I hope this is an issue we can continue to work on together.

I am concerned about several controversial riders in this bill - a few of which may be poison pills.

The bill contains provisions that would permanently prevent the Administration from implementing reforms. The bill also addresses several policies that are best addressed in authorizing legislation, not in an annual appropriations bill.

I am also concerned about the decision to allow for increased spending in this and other bills by designating funds for veterans healthcare as an “emergency.” This is not consistent with the budget agreement that was put in place last year.

We must work together on appropriations bills that meet agreed upon spending levels and avoid controversial legislative language. This is the only way to get bills through the House and the Senate and signed into law.

In closing, I would like to thank my staff – Tom O’brien as well as the Majority staff – for their hard work on this bill.

Mr. Chairman, I yield back.