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House Ag Appropriations Bill moves forward

News Staff - July 8, 2020

WASHINGTON, DC - The 2021 House Ag Appropriations bill passed out of committee with winners and losers.

US Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) is a member of the committee. The bill is moving forward and allocates nearly $24 Billion dollars to fund the USDA and FDA, two-percent above the current fiscal year.

The measure would increase funding for rural development and broadband expansion.

It would stop the USDA from granting line-speed waivers at meat processing facilities during the pandemic. In the past month, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) allowed four poultry plants to increase their processing speeds and waived some line speed and staffing requirements for a Tyson beef packing plant in Holcomb, Kansas, marking the first attempt to deregulate beef slaughter. The agency also accepted applications for controversial changes in pork slaughter.

It would also block the final SNAP rule on Able-Bodied Adults without dependents that would place more stringent work requirements on food stamp beneficiaries.  An estimated 700,000 recipients would lose access to food stamp benefits under the proposed rule. In March, a federal judge blocked the implementation of this new rule and found that the rule was “likely unlawful.” In reaching the decision, the judge noted that government programs like food stamps are especially important at this time as a “global pandemic poses widespread health risks.”

Ranking House Ag Appropriations Committee member Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska hailed the provisions in the bill for food banks and broadband expansion.

Congresswoman Rosa De Lauro of Connecticut praised the needed funds for the SNAP food stamp program, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs with the blocking of rules that would threaten benefits for hundreds of thousands of people. She says food stamp spending is “a powerful anti-recession tool.”

The House Appropriations Committee is expected to mark up the bill Thursday, July 9.

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