The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve a bill on Thursday that effectively approves Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue’s removal of two research agencies to Kansas City from Washington, setting up a clash with House leaders. The $151.7 billion USDA-FDA funding bill …
The newest member of the Senate, Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith of Mississippi, will serve on two committees that her predecessor, Thad Cochran, chaired during his 40 years in the Senate.
Following the most expensive year ever for fighting wildfires, the Senate Appropriations Committee included $507 million in emergency wildfire funds in a funding bill for the Interior Department and related agencies.
Some 46 million people live in rural America, scattered across 72 percent of the U.S. landmass, and conditions in many rural communities “are incredibly challenging,” said Anne Hazlett, recently installed as head of the USDA’s rural economic development programs. During a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing, Hazlett agreed that “resources will be needed” for rural growth but deflected questions about whether more federal dollars should go into the programs.
In the first serious congressional disagreement with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on Thursday to reinstate the post of undersecretary for rural development, eliminated five weeks ago by Perdue in a USDA reorganization. "We want that position in place as part of our emphasis on rural development," said Republican Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota.
By far, Sonny Perdue had the latest starting date for any agriculture secretary in USDA history – 13 weeks after President Trump took office. Perdue lamented at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing that history is going to repeat itself with a long wait, likely running into the fall, for the rest of the team of executives that runs USDA.
Three months after Congress passed a law for mandatory disclosure of GMO ingredients in food, five dozen farm and food industry groups asked Congress to assure access to "modern agricultural tools." They also asked for a $3 million appropriation so the FDA and USDA can "educate the public" about use of biotechnology in the food and agriculture sector.
The Senate Appropriations Committee is expected to approve today legislation that would bar the EPA from implementing its Waters of the United States rule during the fiscal year that opens on Oct 1. Known as WOTUS, the rule defines the upstream reach of clean water laws and is under challenge in a federal appeals court.
In a fractious election year, lawmakers are united on one issue — blocking USDA's proposal for retailers to stock a greater variety of healthy foods if they want to be part of the $80 billion food stamp program. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a provision to bar USDA from working on the regulation in the fiscal year opening on Oct. 1, echoing action by House appropriators a month ago.
A Tea Party group in Kansas said it may encourage Milton Wolf to run in the Republican primary on Aug. 2 against first-term Sen. Jerry Moran, the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that oversees USDA and FDA funding.