VIDEO: U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich delivers remarks on the Senate Floor urging the Senate to advance Bipartisan Appropriations Legislation.
WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, delivered remarks on the Senate floor highlighting bipartisan appropriations legislation and the importance of avoiding a costly government shutdown.
As the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Heinrich urged his colleagues to support the Fiscal Year 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill that the Appropriations Committee reported out on a unanimous and bipartisan 28-0 vote in June. The bill provides nearly $26 billion to continue the important work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and of the Food and Drug Administration. This includes support for American farmers and food producers, protections for the nation’s food supply, and investments in important conservation and clean water programs.
“Every state, including my own State of New Mexico, has farmers, families, and rural economies that will benefit from the investments in this bill,” said Heinrich, Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies. “At the core of this bill is our commitment to ensuring that families can put food on their tables and that no child goes hungry.”
The full Senate is currently considering a package of three appropriations bills: Military Construction-Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation-HUD.
Heinrich’s remarks as prepared for delivery are below:
The substitute amendment contains the Appropriations Committee-reported versions of three bills: Military Construction and Veterans Affairs; Agriculture; and Transportation, Housing and Urban Development.
I rise today as the Chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies subcommittee.
I would urge all of my colleagues to support the Agriculture bill that the Appropriations Committee reported out on a unanimous and bipartisan 28-0 vote.
The Fiscal Year 2024 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides nearly $26 billion to continue the important work of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and of the Food and Drug Administration.
This includes support for American farmers and food producers, protections for our nation’s food supply, and investments in important conservation and clean water programs.
As we drafted this bill, our subcommittee made difficult decisions on how to best invest taxpayer dollars, in line with the agreement forged earlier this year by President Biden and House leadership.
I am proud of the collaborative approach taken by Ranking Member Hoeven and myself to make this a truly bipartisan bill.
Our subcommittee held substantive hearings.
We considered nearly three thousand requests from our Senate colleagues.
And we worked in a bipartisan manner to address all the ways that these agencies serve our nation.
Every state, including my own State of New Mexico, has farmers, families, and rural economies that will benefit from the investments in this bill.
At the core of this bill is our commitment to ensuring that families can put food on their tables and that no child goes hungry.
The Committee-reported bill includes $6.3 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children—or WIC.
It safeguards the enrollment of over 6 million women, infants, and children across this country in this vital nutrition program.
We will continue to monitor the impacts of rising food costs and the increased participation of families in WIC.
We must deliver on the goal of providing every eligible family with the full benefit they need to keep healthy and nutritious food on the table.
Few federal aid programs garner such broad bipartisan support as WIC.
And I am confident that my colleagues will continue to sustain this essential program.
Equally important, this bill fully funds the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Child Nutrition Programs so that kids across the country will continue to receive healthy school meals.
Children should be able to focus on learning and growing, not on worries about when they will eat their next meal.
This bill also provides a $20 million increase for the Food and Drug Administration to support its mission of protecting the safety and security of our nation’s food supply.
As we head into another winter flu season and see a potential new uptick in COVID cases, this bill will also ensure that FDA has the resources it needs to keep our nation’s drug supply safe.
This bill maintains our support for vital agriculture research and our nation’s next generation of researchers through funding for both the Agriculture Research Service and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture.
These funds support scientific discovery at land grant universities and research centers all across the nation.
These programs protect our nation’s current food supply and ensure the long-term viability of American agriculture.
I am also pleased with the $922 million that we provided for conservation efforts around the country.
In the face of a rapidly changing climate, it is essential that our farmers and producers have access to technical assistance and tools they need to implement best practices on their working lands.
Importantly, this bill makes key economic investments in rural America.
Many rural communities, including in New Mexico, are burdened by a lack of affordable housing as their housing stock continues to age and construction costs increase.
The bill provides over $30 billion for rural Americans to achieve homeownership, the majority of whom will be first-time homebuyers.
It also fully funds the rental assistance program, which provides a lifeline for many low-income families in rural communities.
These funds are coupled with almost $2 billion for business and industry development to increase job growth and revitalize rural economies.
Finally, this bill underscores our commitment to global food security by maintaining funding for vital international food aid programs.
These programs support developing countries and provide for the donation of U.S. agricultural commodities.
As conflict and climate threats around the globe contribute to rising levels of famine and poverty, these programs demonstrate our nation’s leadership in the fight against world hunger while building new markets for our agricultural exports.
The Agriculture portion of this “minibus” appropriations package is a bipartisan, comprehensive bill and I am proud to see it before the full Senate for consideration.
I want to recognize members of our subcommittee from both the majority and the minority subcommittee for their tremendous efforts to negotiate this bill.
I yield the floor.