The Obama Administration has listed its objections to H.R. 2410, which would set appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2014. One of the key objections relates to spending cuts for USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service.
The House bill would fund FSIS by $10 million less than the President requested in his budget proposal, and would force FSIS to absorb $9 million in rental costs. A White House statement outlining objections to the bill states “These cuts will significantly impact USDA's ability to adequately inspect food processing plants and prevent foodborne diseases from contaminating America's meat, poultry, and egg product supply. Over 80 percent of FSIS's employees are frontline inspectors and the Committee's recommendation may require the agency to furlough. Decreased FSIS inspections will disrupt industry production.”
The Administration also cites the bill’s failure to provide $155 million it requested to fund a high priority poultry biosafety and laboratory facility and a 24 percent shortfall in funding provided for the Agricultural Food and Research Initiative (AFRI).
The House bill would provide $4.3 billion for the FDA, which falls $342 million short of the funds in the President’s budget request, and does not include proposed new user fees. “The Administration urges the Congress to enact new user fees proposed in the FY 2014 Budget, which would provide significant additional resources to enhance FDA regulatory capacity, as well as provide benefits to industry, advance the Nation's food safety system, and continue implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act.”
The Administration also weighs in on the GIPSA rule, saying it strongly opposes a provision in the bill that effectively prevents USDA's Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) from further implementing the remaining portions of the rule, which was finalized in December 2011.
The bill, the White House says, imposes harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, agricultural research, and international food aid. “Investing in these areas is critical to the Nation's economic growth, security, and global competitiveness. If the President were presented with H.R. 2410, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
Read the full statement from the White House.