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The Senate Committee on Appropriations approved the FY2018 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill recently with funding for programs that support American agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs.
The bill provides $145.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding, $4.85 billion above the President’s budget request and $7.9 billion below the FY2017 enacted level. It contains $20.525 billion in discretionary funding, $352 million below the FY2017 enacted level, and includes $124.9 billion in mandatory funding. It was approved 31-0.
This appropriations bill was written to support U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agriculture, rural development, conservation programs, and food and drug safety. It also provides essential nutrition assistance for children, families, and seniors.
Bill Highlights in Food Safety and Nutrition Programs:
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – $1.038 billion, $6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and consistent with the budget request, for food safety and inspection programs that work to ensure safe, healthy food for American families. The bill promotes the safety and productivity of the nation’s $186 billion meat and poultry industry by supporting more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities in the United States. The bill provides full funding for FSIS to implement Siluriformes fish and fish product inspection.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – $2.8 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, $1 million over the FY2017 enacted level. Overall, total FDA funding, including user fee revenues, is $5.2 billion, which is $491 million above FY2017. The bill does not support new user fees or the associated cuts to budget authority as proposed in the budget request. Food safety activities are fully supported, and the bill provides $60 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act.
Food and Nutrition Programs – The bill provides discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, for food and nutrition programs within the USDA. This includes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Nutrition programs.
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – $6.35 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which is level with the FY2017 enacted level. This amount is based on USDA estimates of WIC enrollments and will not prevent eligible participants from receiving benefits.
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – $73.612 billion in required mandatory spending, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for SNAP. Due to declining enrollments, this is $4.868 billion below last year’s level.
Child Nutrition Programs – $24.243 billion in required mandatory funding, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for child nutrition programs. This funding will provide meals for an estimated 30.1 million participants, 22 million of which qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. In addition, $53 million in discretionary program funds is also included for equipment grants and the Summer EBT Demonstration.
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