Chairman Rogers Floor Statement on H.R. 4800, the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill

Jun 11, 2014

House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today gave the following statement on the House floor today in support of H.R. 4800, the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill:

"Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 4800, the Fiscal Year 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

This bill – our fifth of the 2015 appropriations cycle – provides $20.9 billion in discretionary funding for important agriculture, rural development, and FDA programs.

"With this legislation, we ensure America’s farmers and ranchers – who contribute billions to our economy, as well as create jobs and put food on our tables – have the resources they need to continue to remain successful.

"We have provided responsible funding for programs that work to stop crop, plant, and animal diseases that can cripple U.S. producers and entire industries. Funding is also directed to programs that help conserve and protect farmland, and improve water quality and food safety.

"In addition, this bill also provides funding for infrastructure development, housing loans and rental assistance, and economic opportunities for America’s rural communities. These vital loans and programs help foster an environment for economic growth, and will help rural America thrive.

"The Committee also prioritized the safety of our nation’s food and drug supply, targeting increases to FDA food and drug safety activities. The funding in this bill will maintain 8,000 inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products and facilities across the nation.

"I am also pleased that we have included language that forces the FDA to develop more robust guidelines for abuse-deterrent narcotic formulations. We withhold $20 million from the Commissioner’s office until these long-overdue regulations are finalized. Prescription drug abuse is a scourge on this nation, and the FDA can and should be doing more to battle this epidemic.

"Beyond funding these critical USDA and FDA programs, the bill also includes funding for a variety of nutrition programs, making sure our most vulnerable – including our children and elderly – do not go hungry.

"The discretionary funding level provided in this bill is essentially the same as last year’s level – a testament to the hard work of the Subcommittee to find savings wherever possible. Each and every program within this bill was closely examined to help make the best decisions about where to direct tax dollars, and where to trim funding.

"This bill also makes strides to make these programs more efficient, more effective, and more useful for the American people, and strengthens congressional oversight, particularly where it comes to mandatory spending on important nutrition programs. For instance, within SNAP, we have required the enforcement of a ban on certain outreach with foreign governments, and implemented protocols to help weed out waste, fraud, and abuse.

"Mr. Speaker, the bill before us today is a common-sense bill that makes every step to adequately fund important Agriculture programs, to support our most vulnerable citizens, and to act with fiscal restraint. 

"I want to thank Chairman Aderholt, Ranking Member Farr, and the Subcommittee for all they did to achieve this. I also would like to thank our fine staff, for their knowledge and hard work.

"I strongly urge the House to vote for this bill today.