McMorris Secures Funding to Help Boost Washington’s Agriculture Economy

(Washington, D.C.)  Recognizing the important role agriculture plays in Eastern Washington’s economy, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris (R-WA) fought to secure funding in H.R. 2744, the Fiscal Year 2006 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act that will help fund a state of the art agriculture research facility at Washington State University. McMorris also worked to fund research on a variety of crops important to the Pacific Northwest as well as human and health safety programs.

“Washington State is one of the top agriculture producers in the country,” said McMorris. “Throughout Eastern Washington, our farmers and ranchers are contributing to the world’s food supply and helping our regional economy. The funding included in the Agriculture Appropriations bill will help ensure Washington’s agriculture industry remains strong.”

Agriculture is a $5.5 billion industry in Washington State. In total, this bill provides nearly $17 billion in total discretionary funding for agriculture and related programs. This level represents an increase of $93 million over the President’s request. In addition to specific Eastern Washington projects, the money will be used for Food Safety and Inspection; Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; Food and Drug Administration; and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy.

Key Eastern Washington appropriations were made for the following programs under the bill:

Agriculture Research Service Facility (ARS) to replace Johnson Hall, Washington State University ($3,625,000.00):

The funding will provide state of the art research facility for scientists at the ARS research facility at Johnson Hall on the campus of Washington State University. The USDA Agricultural Research Service and Washington State University have a long and effective research partnership with scientists collaborating on national and regional projects, jointly training students, and contributing to the economic productivity and profitability of agriculture in the Pacific Northwest.

“The current ARS scientists working at WSU are working in inadequate facilities,” said McMorris. “Updating this facility will strengthen the federal and state partnership in plant sciences and contribute to improvements in laboratories and equipment underpinning this research.

Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or often referred to as “Mad Cow Disease”) ($1,000,000):

The Committee considers research on BSE as essential if regulatory agencies are to develop policies and control programs based on the best available science. ARS is directed to implement an integrated BSE program in pathogenesis, diagnostics, and intervention. The Committee provides an increase of Pullman, Washington, $1,000,000 for research to be conducted in Pullman at Washington State University.

Food and Nutrition Programs:

H.R. 2744 ensured proper funding for domestic nutrition assistance programs, including Food Stamp, School Lunch, School Breakfast, and Child and Adult Care Food programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Fulfilling Commitments to Important Food and Nutrition Programs:

  • Child Nutrition Programs (Mandatory) are funded at $12.4 billion, $630 million above last year and $4 million below the President’s request.
  • Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) is funded at $5.3 billion, $22 million above last year and $47 million above the recently revised budget estimate.
  • Food Stamp Program (Mandatory) is funded at $40.7 billion, a 15.8% increase of $5.6 billion above last year and the same as the President’s request.
  • Food for Peace Program (PL 480) Title II is funded at a program level of $1.1 billion, a decrease of $66 million below last year and $222 million above the President’s request. In addition, $240 million was provided in the recently enacted war supplemental.
  • Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) is funded at $108 million, an increase of $1 million above last year and the President’s request.

The appropriations are part of the overall Fiscal Year 2006 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2006. McMorris voted in favor of the appropriation package which passed the House of Representatives today by a bipartisan vote of 408 to 18. The bill will need to be reconciled with the Senate version of the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations bill after it passes the United States Senate. McMorris will work to ensure the money will be included in the final bill agreed upon by the House and Senate.

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