House-AgApprop2015_406x250Food safety was not a significant part of discussions Wednesday during the House Appropriations Committee markup of the agriculture funding bill. Nutrition policies, the Food for Peace program and FDA pre-market review of e-cigarettes were some of the major topics of debate. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) praised the inclusion of language in the Manager’s Amendment to ban beef imports from Brazil and Argentina until USDA takes further steps to evaluate the risks of doing so. “I would have loved to have seen this preventing USDA from moving forward — period,” DeLauro said, “but I applaud this effort.” Rep. Sam Farr’s (D-CA) amendment to ban horse slaughter, which has been added to the ag appropriations bill in previous years, failed to pass the committee. DeLauro’s amendment to prohibit the U.S. from entering into any agreement that “invalidates” U.S. catfish inspection laws was agreed to by voice vote. The $41.5-million increase allocated to FDA’s food safety activities was noted in several opening statements, but no one noted that it’s less than half what President Obama’s budget requested. Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan wrote to Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers the day before the markup with concerns that the legislation included “highly problematic ideological riders” and would underfund important initiatives. “The bill does not include the requested budget authority or new proposed user fees to enhance FDA capacity during a critical implementation period for the bipartisan Food Safety Modernization Act,” Donovan wrote. “Overall, according to the Subcommittee, this bill reduces funding by about $1.1 billion, or more than 5 percent, below the President’s Budget.” (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)