The House Agriculture Committee on Thursday considered the budget views and estimates letter for the 2015 fiscal year, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, and a resolution commemorating the Smith-Lever Act.
The committee adopted, by voice vote, the budget views and estimates letter, which outlines the committee's budget recommendations for the agencies and programs under its jurisdiction for fiscal year 2015. The letter will be submitted to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan.
In the letter, House Committee members said they would turn focus to implementing the farm bill, ensuring that the USDA is "administering its programs in a fiscally responsible manner."
"Even though the 2014 Farm Bill produced significant savings, we know that agriculture programs will continue to come under attack from those outside the committee," Rep. Colin Peterson, D-Minn., said in a statement. "The committee is committed to reducing the deficit but I hope our colleagues listen to us, avoid political games and keep in mind the safety net the farm bill provides during tough economic times, be it for farmers or consumers struggling to put food on the table."
Also on the committee's plate, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission reauthorization. Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., said the committee will continue oversight of CFTC regulations to ensure they’re not harming economic growth and job creation.
Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act
Also Thursday, the committee approved H.R. 935, the Reducing Regulatory Burdens Act, by voice vote.
The bill would amend the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, Rodenticide Act and the Clean Water Act to clarify Congressional intent and eliminate the requirement of a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit for the use of pesticides already approved for use under FIFRA.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson supported the move in a released statement.
“I commend the committee for adopting a common-sense solution to duplicative regulatory requirements that affect family farmers and ranchers," he said. "This law would continue existing regulatory oversight over pesticide application without adding duplicative and time-consuming permitting requirements."
Johnson added that the passage was necessary, as Congress did not include it in the 2014 Farm Bill. "I hope House and Senate leaders recognize the need for clarity on pesticide permitting requirements and advance this bipartisan legislation as soon as possible," he concluded.
Concluding activities was the passage of H. Con. Res. 86 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Smith-Lever Act.
Smith-Lever established the Cooperative Extension System. Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson are both original cosponsors of the resolution.
The Senate introduced a similar resolution in Committee last week, highlighting the role of Cooperative Extension resources in educating communities and producers.
The Smith-Lever Act, the founding legislation of the Cooperative Extension System, was signed into law in 1914 and helped to create a nationwide educational network bringing together federal, state and local governments with land-grant universities to provide research-based information to people in communities across the United States.
The resolution recognizes "the excellent job done by 4-H clubs and extension economists and crop and livestock specialists at Land Grant Universities," Peterson said.