WASHINGTON – The Senate Committee on Appropriations this week approved – with a bipartisan 28 to 2 vote – the fiscal year 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill. U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) is chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.
“The investments made in this bill reaffirm our commitment to advancing production agriculture and public health innovations in Kansas, and provide our rural communities with the ability to compete – both here and abroad,” Sen. Moran said. “Through a balanced approach to fiscal responsibility and continued investment in rural America, we are prioritizing agriculture research and extension activities, promoting rural development efforts, supporting food safety and public health initiatives, and encouraging the development of new medicines and medical devices. Additionally, we are reining in the Obama administration’s regulatory overreach by limiting the scope of the dietary guidelines and delaying the implementation of overly broad menu labeling rules.”
The Senate bill exhibits a strong commitment to fiscal responsibility by reducing overall spending by $3.7 billion compared to FY2015 enacted levels. The legislation is $24 billion below the President’s budget request level.
The bill supports Farm Bill implementation efforts and protects crop insurance as a key risk management tool for producers. It invests $2.7 billion in new and ongoing agricultural research initiatives conducted by USDA and Kansas land grant and non-land grant universities. The bill also provides assistance to farmers, ranchers, and other landowners for conservation efforts, and rejects the President’s proposal to reduce USDA conservation technical assistance to producers. It increases funding for USDA programs aimed at eradicating plant and animal pests and diseases that threaten agriculture production.
The bill continues investments important to rural Kansas communities, including by increasing funding for USDA rural development programs that are designed to help foster economic growth in rural areas. The policies funded include rural housing programs and loans for rural water, waste, electric and telephone infrastructure projects.
On nutrition issues, the legislation will ensure the new set of Dietary Guidelines for Americans will be based on sound nutritional science, not on environmental sustainability factors pushed by activist groups.
The U.S. Senate now has an opportunity to debate 11 of the 12 appropriations bills required of Congress annually. If all 12 appropriations bills are passed into law, the U.S. government would save $74 billion in fiscal year 2016 as compared to President Obama’s budget proposal.