Congress Passes FY 2014 Spending Bill with Directives for USDA and FDA

Posted January 20, 2014

Late last week, Congress passed a $1 trillion omnibus spending package to fund the federal government through fiscal year 2014, according to an Agri-Pulse article available here.

The legislation, H.R. 3547, passed the Senate 72-25 and the House passed the bill with bipartisan support the day before.  The spending package funds 12 departments, “giving USDA and FDA a combined increase of $350 million for a total of $20.9 billion in discretionary spending.”

The FDA will receive $2.55 billion in discretionary funding, with an additional $1.79 billion to come from user fees, according to a Food Safety News article available here.  Congress also issued a directive to FDA to “implement a comprehensive training program” on regulations under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), saying it is “one of the most critical issues facing FSMA implementation.”

The bill prevents USDA’s Grain Inspection, Stockyards and Packers Administration (GIPSA) from finalizing regulations related to contracts for livestock and poultry growers, according to a Feedstuffs article available here.

The bill also “strongly encourages” USDA to halt the finalizing of the Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) regulations until after the World Trade Organization (WTO) issues a ruling.

In addition, the legislation reinstates a ban on horse slaughter, defunding the inspection program and stipulating that funding should not be restored “until and unless” the FDA determines that meat from American horses can be made safe to enter the food supply.

Please visit the National Agricultural Law Center for more information on food safety, GIPSA, COOL, or animal welfare.