October 19, 2018

White House Threatens Veto of House Agriculture Appropriations Bill

In a Statement of Administration Policy issued June 25, 2013, the White House stated it strongly opposes House passage of H.R. 2410, making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. The Statement reads “it imposes harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, agricultural research, and international food aid. If the President were presented with H.R. 2410, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”

CongressThe deadline for action on this issue passed more than two months ago. Congress has still not appointed conferees and agreed on a budget resolution.

The White House said they are “deeply concerned that the WIC funding level in the Committee bill puts the program at significant risk of being unable to serve all eligible women and children who seek assistance, which could result in waiting lists, greater hardship, and poorer health outcomes for this vulnerable population.” A recent study found that children living in poverty were more likely to contract a foodborne illness.

The Administration also opposes the funding level for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS). The Committee cuts almost $10 million from the President’s budget request and forces FSIS to absorb $9 million in rental costs by not providing funding. Those cuts will “significantly impact USDA’s ability to adequately inspect food processing plants and prevent foodborne diseases from contaminating America’s meat, poultry, and egg product supply,” according to the Statement. ┬áIn addition, the House is not funding a requested $155 million high priority poultry biosafety and laboratory facility. This facility would replace USDA’s aging laboratory infrastructure.

The House bill has cut $342 million from the President’s Budget request for FDA funding as well. New proposed user fees are not included in the budget. According to the Statement, “the overall reductions in budget authority will limit FDA’s ability to oversee the safety and quality of the U.S. food and medical products and threaten the agency’s ability to improve and maintain FDA’s other critical facilities.”

 

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