August 22, 2019

Bill Aims to Stop USDA Changes

USDA Changes

Congressman Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) have introduced HR 7330, the Agriculture Research Integrity Act, which aims to block reorganization and relocation of federal agriculture research agencies. The bill is cosponsored by Reps. Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (D-Ga.), Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.), Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio), Ann McLane Kuster (D-N.H.), James P. McGovern (D-Mass.), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jimmy Panetta (D-Calif.), and Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.). The lawmakers are hoping to stop USDA Changes.

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue has proposed moving the National Institutes of Food and Agriculture and Economic Research Service away from the Washington, DC, area, as well as shifting authority of ERS from the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics to the Office of the Secretary.

HR 7330, the Agriculture Research Integrity Act, would require the USDA to keep the agencies within the US capital area and keep ERS under the purview of the Under Secretary for Research, Education, and Economics so it can remain free of politicization. Bill text is available here in PDF format.

“Relocating the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture would be extremely disruptive to the mission of the USDA and impact hundreds of federal employees,” said Congressman Hoyer in a news release. “I join in thanking Congresswoman Pingree for introducing this important legislation.”

“The National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the Economic Research Service are already doing great work to support American farmers and consumers right where they are,” Congresswoman Pingree said. “Uprooting these key agencies is absolutely unnecessary and risks weakening them when our nation’s food system and agricultural economy need them most. My colleagues and I have repeatedly sent this message to the Secretary. Since he’s forging ahead regardless of our feedback — or the concerns of the nation’s agriculture research scientists — this bill is a necessary step.”

All of the Democratic members of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture have signed onto the bill—Reps. Bishop, DeLauro, Pingree, and Pocan—as well as House Agriculture Committee members Reps. Fudge, Kuster, McGovern, and Panetta. Rep. Norton represents her constituents in the capital area.

“I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing legislation that would ensure the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Economic Research Service can continue to effectively carry out their vital research missions,” said Congressman Bishop. “NIFA and ERS work closely with research institutions around the country and collaborate with numerous other federal agencies in the Washington, DC, area. Relocating these agencies and politicizing their leadership will disrupt the important work they are doing, and could cause an unnecessary loss in valuable expertise through staffing losses. None of this would be helpful at a time when our farmers are facing retaliatory tariffs and years of declining commodity prices.”

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For more information about House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, visit his Leader member page.

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