Senate Approves Ag Spending Bill

The Senate Tuesday approved the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill for the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and related agencies by a vote of 80-17, clearing the way for a conference committee to take up the legislation in September. The price tag of the bill totals $125 billion.

More than 80 percent of the funding in the measure, $100.8 billion, is for mandatory programs such as food stamps, which have seen a sharp increase in demand during the recession. The Senate legislation also would provide substantial increases to international food aid and farm support programs financed through the Commodity Credit Corporation, which would receive $13.9 billion, up 25 percent from last year.

The Senate voted 60-37 to approve an amendment by Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to add $350 million to the measure for milk price supports to increase government purchases of surplus dairy products.

By unanimous consent, the Senate voted to slash funding for the National Animal Identification System in half, from $14.6 million to $7.3 million. Farm Bureau opposed the amendment. The House axed all funding for the program in its version of the spending bill passed last month.


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