Subcommittee Chairman Kingston Opening Statement on FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations Bill for Subcommittee Mark Up

Jun 6, 2012

We have before us today the Chairman’s mark for the fiscal year 2013 appropriations bill and report for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. 

 Our discretionary 302(b) allocation in budget authority is $19.405 billion, a decrease of $365 million 1.85 percent below the fiscal year 2012 funding level, and a decrease of $1.7 billion below the President’s request.  Within this total, is a security allocation of $1.33 billion for international food assistance programs.  Mandatory spending in the bill totals $121.3 billion, an increase of $4.4 billion above the fiscal year 2012 level, and a decrease of $2 billion below the request.

American agriculture is the envy of the world, feeding not only our country but much of the globe.  This legislation builds on the bipartisan work of our subcommittee to support agriculture and nutrition, and increase efficiency and effectiveness at the Agriculture Department and the agencies we oversee.  It will help ensure a safe and abundant food and drug supply and spur rural economic growth while checking the growth of government using common sense reforms.

Some of these common sense reforms strengthen the management of programs, reduce waste, and stamp out fraud.  These include a requirement to include OIG’s fraud hotline on SNAP EBT cards and WIC coupons, requirements that the Secretary verify those being approved for certain USDA programs  have not been permanently debarred, and a directive to establish uniform income standards in the WIC program.  When implemented, these measures will bring greater accountability to Americans, and the tax dollars they send to Washington.

The subcommittee held 11 hearings covering all the mission areas of the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.  We took testimony from 29 witnesses, and the public record of those hearings will soon be available. 

We received more than 2,500 requests from 254 Members of Congress for various funding and language items.  We have tried to address these requests by providing funding for programs, or by including language in the bill or report within the House rules, and there are no earmarks in the legislation before us today. 

This committee has done the people’s work.  Since last February, we have passed H.R. 1, the fiscal year 2011 Continuing Resolution, the fiscal year 2012 appropriations bills, and we are well on our way on the fiscal year 2013 bills.   This could not have been done without the leadership of Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Dicks.

This subcommittee has done its part as well.  Subcommittee member participation at hearings and markups has been at a high level, and I commend all subcommittee members for their efforts.  On the majority: Mr. Latham; Mrs. Emerson; Mr. Aderholt; Mrs. Lummis; Mr. Nunnelee; and Mr. Graves. On the minority side, my good friend and Ranking Member, Mr. Farr; Ms. DeLauro; Mr. Bishop; and Ms. Kaptur.