The House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies each met Tuesday for markup of their respective agriculture appropriations bills. The House bill passed the subcommittee over the objection of U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), who argued that the bill “fails to make the necessary investments to protect consumers,” and will now be favorably reported to the full appropriations committee. The draft matches up pretty closely with the president’s budget in terms of funding the Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The legislation includes $1 billion for FSIS, approximately the same as the 2014 enacted level, and will maintain more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities across the country. FDA is set to receive a total of almost $2.6 billion in discretionary funding, including $914 million for the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and $172 million for the Center for Veterinary Medicine. The bill includes an increase of $25 million for food safety activities. “The bill before us fails to make the necessary investments to protect consumers,” DeLauro told her fellow subcommittee members. “At a time when outbreaks of foodborne illness are a continual challenge, this bill funds the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) at $6 million below last year.” She also cited the recent recall of about 1.8 million pounds of ground beef from the Wolverine Packing Company as a reason to maintain FSIS funding. “We are seeing recalls that are similar to this on nearly a monthly basis,” she said. “We have Memorial Day coming up this weekend. This is a product from Michigan that has gone all over the nation, and one of the things that we’re going to say to consumers is ‘cook it well.’ But the fact is, there should not be E. coli on the hamburgers that people are going to consume this weekend, and we have the opportunity to do something about that and we choose not to.” As for FDA, DeLauro said she appreciated the additional $25 million allocated for implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), but that she thinks more resources should be committed. “I think we also have to be realistic, particularly since we know that we are never going to authorize user fees,” she said. “Therefore we should provide the FDA with the amount of money they need to protect people from foodborne illness.” DeLauro also cited menu labeling exclusions, nutrition in school lunches, the compounding drug issue and underfunding for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) as additional reasons for opposing the bill. “I cannot, in good conscience, support this bill as it stands,” she said. While the House’s meeting lasted about an hour, the Senate subcommittee met for only about 15 minutes, stipulating that amendments will be held until the bill comes before the full committee later in the week. The Senate ag bill contains $2.588 billion for FDA, which includes the requested increase of $23 million for FSMA implementation. It also provides $1.023 billion for FSIS, full funding for all inspection services. “I believe we’ve struck a good balance in this legislation,” said Subcommittee Chairman Sen. Mark Pryor (D-AR).