The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2016 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill on a bipartisan 28-2 vote.
Federal initiatives to improve agriculture production & research
With this action, the Senate now has an opportunity to debate 11 of the 12 appropriations bills required of Congress annually.
“The purview of this bill includes many important programs that directly influence US agriculture, public health and the quality of life in rural America,” said Thad Cochran, Appropriations Committee chairman.
“The bill adheres to our budget constraints, yet funds federal initiatives to improve agriculture production and research and to support rural economies.”
The 11th FY2016 funding bill, gives bipartisan support to a $148.3bn agricultural and rural development measure that also invests in food safety, public health and nutrition programs.
The Senate bill contains $143.8bn in discretionary and mandatory funding, $24bn below the President’s budget request and $3.7bn below the FY2015 enacted level. The discretionary funding portion of the bill totals $20.51bn, $65m below the FY2015 enacted level.
Frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, & egg products
Required mandatory spending in the bill, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, totals $123.3bn.
FSIS legislation includes $1.014bn, approximately the same as the 2015 enacted level, for food safety and inspection programs that work to ensure safe, healthy food for American families, while promoting the safety and productivity of the nation’s $186bn meat and poultry industry.
The bill will support more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities in the US.
The bill also provides more than $2.6bn in discretionary funding for the FDA, $40m over the FY2015 enacted level.
Overall, total FDA funding, including user fee revenues, is $4.6bn, which is $116m above FY2015. Within this total, a $45m increase is provided for food safety activities and a $5m increase is included for medical product safety activities.
The Senate bill also includes a one-year delay for FDA implementation of a new menu labeling regulation.