106th Congress (1999-2000)
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AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS ACT, 2001 -- (Senate - July 18, 2000)
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Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate now turn to H.R. 4461, the Agriculture appropriations bill. I further ask unanimous consent that all after the enacting clause of H.R. 4461 be stricken and the text of S. 2536 with a modified division B be inserted in lieu thereof, and that the new text be treated as original text for the purpose of further amendment, and that no point of order be waived.
Mr. REID. Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I express my appreciation to Senator WELLSTONE for being so reasonable on this issue. As usual, he spotted the issue. It has been explained to him. We are now moving forward on this legislation.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
Mr. LOTT. Mr. President, I know the manager, Senator COCHRAN, is ready to proceed. We hope to go forward with opening statements and any amendments that can be considered tonight. I will consult with Senator COCHRAN and the managers about how to proceed throughout the remainder of the night. But we will turn back to this legislation in the morning not later than 9:30. We will have stacked votes, if any are ready by then, at 2:15 or 2:30 p.m. tomorrow. We will indicate a specific time later.
I thank the Senator from Mississippi, Senator COCHRAN.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will report the bill by title.
The legislative clerk read as follows:
A bill (H.R. 4461) making appropriations for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies programs for the fiscal year ending September 30, 2001, and for other purposes.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Mississippi is recognized.
Mr. COCHRAN. Mr. President, I am very pleased to present for the Senate's consideration the fiscal year 2001 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies appropriations bill. This bill provides fiscal year 2001 funding for the programs and activities of the Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. The U.S. Forest Service is funded by the Interior appropriations bill.
This bill, as reported, also provides fiscal year 2000 supplemental appropriations and rescissions to respond to emergency needs resulting from natural disasters and other unanticipated funding requirements.
The fiscal year 2001 provisions are contained in Division A of the reported bill. It provides total new budget authority for fiscal year 2001 of $75.3 billion. This is $295 million less than the fiscal year 2000 enacted level, excluding emergency appropriations, and $1.5 billion less than the President's budget request.
Just over eighty percent of the total recommended by this bill is for mandatory appropriations over which the Appropriations Committee has no effective control. The spending levels for these programs are governed by authorizing statutes. The mandatory programs funded by this bill include the
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About twenty percent of the total appropriations recommended by this bill is for discretionary programs and activities. Including Congressional budget scorekeeping adjustments and prior-year spending actions, this bill recommends total discretionary spending of $14.850 billion in budget authority and $14.925 billion in outlays for fiscal year 2001. These amounts are consistent with the Subcommittee's discretionary spending allocations.
I would like to take a few moments to summarize the bill's major funding recommendations. For the Food Safety and Inspection Service, appropriations of $678 million are recommended, $29 million more than the fiscal year 2000 level. For the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, $468 million is recommended, $25 million more than the 2000 level.
Appropriations for USDA headquarters operations and for other agriculture marketing and regulatory programs are approximately $84 million more than the fiscal year 2000 appropriations levels. Included in this increase is $25 million to support information technology investments in support of the Department's Service Center Modernization initiative; $42.4 million to support the Department of Agriculture's buildings and facilities and rental payment requirements; $5.9 million, as requested, for costs associated with implementing the Mandatory Livestock Reporting Act; and $6.2 million for the Agricultural Marketing Service to implement a microbiological data program.
For farm credit programs, the bill funds an estimated $3.1 billion total loan program level, the same as the fiscal year 2000 level, excluding additional loans funded through fiscal year 2000
emergency appropriations. The amount recommended includes $559.4 million for farm ownership loans and $2.4 billion for farm operating loans.
For salaries and expenses of the Farm Service Agency, total appropriations of $1.095 billion are recommended. This is $89 million more than the 2000 level and the same as the President's budget request.
The bill provides total appropriations of $1.4 billion for agriculture research, education, and extension activities. Included in this amount is an increase of $3.8 million from fiscal year 2000 for Agricultural Research Service (ARS) buildings and facilities, an increase of $41.2 million for research activities of the ARS; and a $19.2 million increase in funding for the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service.
For conservation programs administered by USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service, total funding of $867.6 million is provided, $63 million more than the 2000 level. This includes $714 million for conservation operations, $11 million for watershed surveys and planning, $99 million for watershed and flood prevention operations, $36 million for the resource conservation and development program, and $6 million for the forestry incentives program.
USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service is funded at a program level of $117.7 million, $4 million more than the fiscal year 2000 level. In addition, a total program level of $996.7 million is recommended for the Public Law 480 program, the same as the fiscal year 2001 budget request and $51.4 million more than the fiscal year 2000 level. This includes $159.7 million for Title I and $837 million for Title II of the program.
The bill also provides a total program level of $2.5 billion for rural economic and community development programs. Included in this amount is $749 million for the Rural Community Advancement Program, $33 million for the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, and $75 million to support a total $2.6 billion program level for rural electric and telecommunications loans.
In addition, the bill devotes additional resources to those programs which provide affordable, safe, and decent housing for low-income individuals and families living in rural America. Estimated rural housing loan authorizations funded by this bill total $4.6 billion. Included in this amount is $4.3 billion in section 502 low-income housing direct and guaranteed loans and $114 million in section 515 rental housing loans. In addition, $680 million is included for the rental assistance program. This is the same as the budget request and $40 million more than the 2000 appropriations level.
Appropriations totaling $35 billion for USDA's nutrition assistance programs continue to command the highest percentage of the total appropriations recommended by the bill--nearly 47 percent of the total new budget authority provided. This includes $9.5 billion for child nutrition programs, including $6 million to complete funding for the school breakfast pilot program; $4.05 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); $140 million for the commodity assistance program; $140 million for the elderly feeding program; and $21.2 billion for the food stamp program.
For those independent agencies funded by the bill, the Committee provides total appropriations of $1.2 billion, $54 million more than the 2000 level. Included in this amount is $67 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and $1.1 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The bill also establishes a
limitation of $36.8 million on administrative expenses of the Farm Credit Administration.
Total appropriations recommended for salaries and expenses of the FDA are $33.7 million more than the 2000 appropriations level. This additional amount, along with $34 million redirected from FDA's tobacco program in light of the recent Supreme Court decision, provides a total increase of $67.7 million for fiscal year 2001. Included in this amount is the full increase requested in the budget for FDA rental payments to the General Services Administration; an additional $24 million for FDA food safety initiatives; and $25 million for premarket review activities. The additional funding for premarket review will continue to strengthen FDA's ability to perform its core statutory mission of reviewing drugs, foods, medical devices and products within statutory time frames and to ensure patients' speedy access to new products and the latest technology.
The bill also makes available $149 million in Prescription Drug User Fee Act collections, $4 million more than the fiscal year 2000 level.
The discretionary budget authority allocation for this bill is approximately $200 million more than the CBO baseline level, or a ``freeze'' at the 2000 enacted appropriations level. To provide the increases the Committee felt were necessary to maintain funding for essential farm, housing, and rural development programs, several mandatory funding restrictions are included in the bill. Modest limitations on the Environmental Quality Incentives and Conservation Farm Option programs are maintained at the fiscal year 2000 levels. Funding for the Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems and the Fund for Rural America is deferred until fiscal year 2002, as proposed in the President's budget.
Although the total discretionary spending recommended by this bill is approximately $277 million in budget authority below the President's budget request level, as reestimated by the Congressional Budget Office, the President's proposed budget relies on additional revenues and savings to accommodate much higher levels of discretionary spending. The President's budget proposes to generate a net total of $564 million in collections from new user fee proposals, and to redirect funds from ongoing projects and Congressional initiatives to pay for Presidential initiatives.
This Committee does not have the luxury of relying on revenues and savings from legislative proposals that have not been acted on by the Congress and signed into law. Consequently, within the discretionary spending limitations established for this bill, we have not been able to afford many of the discretionary spending increases and new initiatives proposed by the Administration, and still remain consistent with the Budget Act.
Food safety continues to be a high priority of this Committee. This bill, as recommended to the Senate, provides the funds necessary to ensure that American consumers continue to have the safest food supply in the world. Not only does this bill provide increased funds required for meat and
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Turning to ``Division B'', the reported bill recommended a net total of $2.2 billion for emergency and regular supplemental appropriations and rescissions for the fiscal year 2000.
A number of these provisions have been enacted into law as part of the conference report on the fiscal year 2001 Military Construction Appropriations Act. The substitute amendment deletes those provisions and makes other accompanying technical and conforming changes to Division B of the reported bill.
The Chairmen of the various Appropriations Subcommittees may speak to those provisions in Division B of the reported bill under their respective jurisdictions.
However, for programs and activities within the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Subcommittee, Division B, as modified, recommends $1.1 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year 2000.
Supplemental appropriations for emergency housing and relief to farmers as a result of the North Carolina hurricane and other natural disasters; for the Farm Service Agency to meet high workload demands; and to offset the assessment on peanut producers for program losses have now been enacted into law.
The remaining emergency supplemental appropriations recommended in the bill reported to the Senate still must be addressed.
These include the $13 million requested by the President to cover a shortfall in available funding for crop insurance premium discounts; $35 million to support ongoing acreage enrollments in the Conservation Reserve and Wetlands Reserve programs; and an additional $130 million for the Rural Community Advancement Program.
Just as devastating to producers as losses from hurricanes, drought and other natural disasters are losses from new and emergent diseases and pest infestations. The bill provides authority for the Secretary of Agriculture to compensate growers for losses as a result of the plum pox virus which has devastated the stone fruit industry; citrus canker; Mexican fruit fly; grasshoppers and Mormon crickets; and Pierce's disease, a new problem plaguing the grape industry.
In addition, emergency assistance totaling an estimated $443 million is recommended for dairy producers and $450 million for livestock producers.
Mr. President, this appropriations bill was reported by the Committee on May 10th. It was one of the first of the thirteen fiscal year 2001 appropriations bills to be reported to the Senate by the Appropriations Committee.
Although the companion bill was reported from the House Appropriations Committee around that same time, on May 16th, the House did not begin consideration of the bill until June 29.
The House resumed consideration of the bill immediately following the July recess and passed the bill on July 11 by a vote of 339-82.
There are approximately 26 legislative days remaining before the October 1 start of the fiscal year. It is my hope we can expedite the Senate's consideration of this bill so we can go to conference with the House and get this bill to the President as quickly as possible.
I thank the distinguished Senator from Wisconsin, the ranking member of the subcommittee, Mr. KOHL, as well as other members of the subcommittee, for their support and cooperation in putting this bill together. It is never easy to determine funding priorities, or to balance the many competing and legitimate needs that confront agriculture in this bill and stay within the subcommittee's required spending limitations. I believe this bill represents a responsible funding recommendation. I ask the Senators to give it their favorable consideration.
I suggest the absence of a quorum.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
Mr. SMITH of New Hampshire. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for the quorum call be rescinded.
The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. BROWNBACK). Without objection, it is so ordered.
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