RANKING MEMBER BISHOP’S STATEMENT ON SUBCOMMITTEE PASSAGE OF FY 2018 AGRICULTURE APPROPRIATIONS BILL

WASHINGTON, DC –  Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, released the following statement regarding the subcommittee’s passage of its Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 spending bill:
“The agriculture appropriations bill is of vital importance to rural communities and farmers, ranchers, and producers across the nation. It also provides the resources necessary for our nation’s food and drug safety and security. The FY 2018 funding bill is not as robust as I would prefer, but I am pleased that the subcommittee has largely rejected the disastrous cuts put forth by the administration.
“This bill provides sufficient funding for our nutrition programs, and adequately funds our Rural Development agencies, with important improvements to rural housing and rural water programs. It also supports our food safety and inspection capabilities, provides full staffing of local Farm Service Agency offices, and continues to invest in our research and conservation capabilities.
“However, I must stress that our rural communities need our support more than ever, and I am hopeful that we can make further improvements to this bill as the legislative process continues.
“I also have significant concerns that we still have no budget resolution, no top-line spending number, nor a full list of subcommittee allocations. Marking up just one bill at a time without a full list of allocations leaves us effectively working in the dark, and runs the risk of starving out the non-defense agencies that provide for our education and health and that protect our workforce, among other important functions. Such a strategy could ultimately upend the appropriations process, while harming working families and the most vulnerable among us.”
A summary of the subcommittee’s FY 2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill follows:
BACKGROUND & BILL HIGHLIGHTS:
FY18 Mark: $144.9 billion
FY17 Enacted: $153.4 billion
President’s Request: $140.3 billion
KEY LANGUAGE IMPACTING AGRICULTURE:
Rural Development
  • $122.7 million to establish the Rural Economic Infrastructure Grant account
  • $1.25 billion for rural water and waste program loans, and $473 million for grants and related costs
  • $24 billion in loan authority for the Single Family Housing guaranteed loan program
  • $819 million for the rural business and industry loan program
Agricultural Research
  • $2.8 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Animal and Plant Health
  • $906 million for Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
Conservation Programs
  • $904 million to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land
  • $45 million for infrastructure rehabilitation to meet safety standards for watershed projects
Farm Programs
  • $1.6 billion for various programs to help American farmers and ranchers implement the Farm Bill, and staff local Farm Service Agency offices
OTHER KEY ITEMS:
Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • $5.2 billion in total funding to support food safety and 21st Century Cures Act efforts
Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
  • $248 million to ensure robust swaps, futures, and options markets and perform market oversight
International Programs
  • $1.8 billion for food aid, including $1.4 billion for “Food for Peace” grants and $185 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program
Food and Nutrition Programs
  • $6.15 billion in discretionary funding for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
  • $24.28 billion in Child nutrition programs for school lunches/snacks and the Summer Food Service
  • $73.6 billion in mandatory funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)