Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Agriculture appropriations bill moves to the House; one amendment would, in effect, ban horse slaughter

The House Appropriations Committee approved a $24.3 billion agriculture appropriations bill today on a 29-21 party-line vote. Of interest:
  • Instead of slashing the budget by 15 percent as President Trump requested, it adds $1 billion to current discretionary spending levels.
  • The bill provides nearly $4 billion for rural development programs, including $680 million for rural broadband.
  • It may include an amendment that would, in effect, ban horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. Since the National Thoroughbred Racing Association has come out in support of such a measure, it may be more likely to gain traction in the Senate version of the bill.
  • Another amendment would block the Department of Agriculture from using funds to provide controversial "harvest boxes" to SNAP recipients.
  • The bill would ban use of funds for any costs associated with relocating the USDA's Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The USDA recently announced it would move those agencies from Washington, D.C., to Kansas City.
  • Amendments from Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wis., would freeze funding for some food and nutrition programs until Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue can verify to Congress that every recipient has provided an identification card and passed a drug test before receiving services.
  • Amendments from Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., would limit USDA support programs for the sugar industry and restrict marketing assistance loans for raw cane sugar and refined beet sugar.
  • An amendment from Rep. Cindy Axne, D-Iowa, asks for an ERS report on the impact of the tariff war on U.S. farmers "in light of Russian efforts to expand agricultural exports to China."

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