The House Appropriations Committee yesterday passed the fiscal year 2015 spending bill for the U.S. Department of Agriculture on a 31-18 vote.  In a markup that lasted four hours, there were two motions to strike by Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH)  relating to the Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA) provisions in the bill. The first motion was to strike the entire section that contains all of the GIPSA language, and a second attempt was a motion to strike a provision that would apply to “undue and unfair practices.”  Both attempts were defeated.

Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA) offered an amendment that would secure funding for the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to proceed with building a modern facility at the Southeast Research Poultry Lab in Athens, Georgia.  The $155 million will allow ARS to consolidate other poultry projects around the country as well as construct a bio containment facility.

Rep. Rosa Delauro (D-CT) offered an amendment that would ban the purchase of chicken processed in China for the school lunch program. The federal school lunch program has “Buy America” provisions, but this would affect local school purchasing, DeLauro said.

The bill is expected to be taken up on the House floor before August recess, which begins August 1.  However, House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee ranking member Sam Farr (D-CA) said the bill would face a series of problems as it moves to the House floor because it contains a provision requiring USDA to grant waivers from school meal nutrition requirements to any schools that say they have lost money in the program for six months.

Both the House and the Senate have passed their respective agriculture spending bills out of full committee, and each chamber has passed three of the 12 required spending bills.