The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has passed the $143.9 billion (mandatory and discretionary funding) FY-2016 agriculture appropriations bill. The bill is $3.2 billion below the president’s request and $3.8 billion below last year’s bill. The discretionary funding level is $20.65 billion which is $175 million below last year’s bill.
The bill contains a number of policy riders:
- Dietary guidelines: The bill would only fund the release and implementation of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans if the USDA and HHS stick to scientific evidence that received a strong rating from the USDA. The guidelines would be limited to diet and nutrition, thus not environmental sustainability policy that was suggested by the DGA Advisory Committee. The Dietary Guidelines are to be released in December.
- School lunch: The USDA would be prohibited in implementing any child nutrition regulations that would reduce sodium in either school meals or ala-carte foods beyond the current limit.
- Menu labeling: The Food and Drug Administration’s mandatory menu labeling compliance deadline would be delayed for one year.
- Chinese chicken: The bill would prohibit the purchase of processed chicken products from China for school meals.
The bill will now go to the House Appropriations Committee for consideration.