Frelinghuysen Agriculture Appropriations Bill Supports Key NJ Industries

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Fiscal Year 2018 Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee today supports key industries in New Jersey.  The legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food and medical product safety, animal and plant health programs, agricultural trade, financial marketplace oversight, and key nutrition programs.

“The safety and accessibility of our nation’s food and drug supply is of utmost importance to our economy, our quality of life, and – given the great benefit of producing necessities here at home – our national security.  This bill prioritizes funding on federal programs that support these critical industries and the farmers, medical professionals, researchers and many others that form the backbone of our food and drug supply – which is the best in the world,” Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen said.  “All these provisions are important for New Jersey - the Garden State – and its significant pharmaceutical and medical device industries.”

Among its many provisions, the legislation supports a new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) program, the Continuous Manufacturing Initiative, which will award grants to institutions of higher education and nonprofit organizations which are working to transform pharmaceutical production.  The goal is to develop new technologies to replace the pharmaceutical industry’s century-old batch processing methods. Continuous manufacturing will benefit patients, healthcare providers, and the pharmaceutical industry by accelerating the introduction of new medicines, assisting in drug quality monitoring and minimizing waste, energy consumption, and raw material use.

The legislation also appropriates $60 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, and includes language to allow FDA to receive transfers from the National Institutes of Health for support of the FDA’s Oncology Center of Excellence.

In the report to accompany the Agriculture Appropriations bill, the panel recognized the recent FDA action on through its Opioids Action Plan and Opioid Policy Steering Committee.  “The FDA has acknowledged that the agency shoulders some responsibility for turning the tide” on the abuse, misuse and diversion of opioid painkillers across the country.  The Committee has encouraged the FDA to “utilize the full breadth of its regulatory authority to address this challenge.”

The legislation also includes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and child nutrition programs.

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)– The bill provides $6.15 billion for WIC.

Child nutrition programs– The bill provides for $24.28 billion in required mandatory funding – which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee – for child nutrition programs. This is $1.5 billion above the fiscal year 2017 enacted level. This funding will provide free or reduced-price school lunches and snacks for 31 million children who qualify for the program. The bill provides approximately $640 million for the Summer Food Service Program to ensure low-income children continue to receive nutritious meals when school is not in session. In addition, the bill continues funding for a pilot program that provides additional funds through SNAP or WIC electronic benefit transfer (EBT) cards to ensure children in underserved communities receive food during the summer months.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)– The bill provides for $73.6 billion in required mandatory spending – which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee – for SNAP - $4.87 billion below last year’s level and $2.6 million below the President’s budget request, reflecting declining enrollment and a decrease in food costs. The total includes $3 billion for the SNAP reserve fund which is used to cover any unexpected participation increases.

The Committee also directs the Agricultural Research Service to continue researching the cultural needs of blueberries and cranberries including genetic improvements to increase genetic diversity and improve resistance to various disease and insects.


The bill totals $20 billion in discretionary funding, which is $876 million lower than the fiscal year 2017 enacted level and $4.64 billion above the President’s budget request. The legislation prioritizes this funding in programs for rural communities, farmers, ranchers, food and drug safety, and nutrition for those in need. In addition, the bill contains several policy provisions to rein in unnecessary and burdensome regulations that harm U.S. food producers and that impede growth in important U.S. industries.