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COMMENT: Latest Attempt by House to Reopen Government Includes Language to Delay Reorganization of Core USDA Research Agencies

January 18, 2019


Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
202-547-5754, rkovalcik@sustainableagriculture.net 

Latest Attempt by House to Reopen Government Includes Language to Delay Reorganization of Core USDA Research Agencies

NSAC Praises House Effort, Urges Senate to Support Previously Conferenced Appropriations Language

Washington, DC, January 18, 2019 – Yesterday, in the midst of the largely stalemated negotiations to end the partial government shutdown, the House revived previously unpublished conference report language in an effort to move the fiscal year (FY) 2019 appropriations process forward. The report included language that had not been included in the 2018 Senate-passed FY 2019 agriculture appropriations bill, nor the agriculture appropriations bills put forward earlier this year by the House. The specific language expressed concern around the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) plan to relocate and reorganize the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

The report directs USDA to “delay indefinitely” the proposal to reorganize ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist and to provide a “detailed analysis” and cost estimates of the proposed move of both ERS and NIFA. In response to the release of this report, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) issued the following statement:

“We are heartened that the House has chosen to address the issue of relocating and reorganizing USDA’s premier research and statistics agencies head-on,” said Nichelle Harriott, NSAC Policy Specialist. “This latest report language asks all the right questions when it comes to the uninformed and unjustified decision to relocate ERS and NIFA – given that this language comes directly from last year’s bicameral efforts to pass a FY 2019 agriculture appropriations bill, we hope the Senate will consider the bill and finally allow the appropriations process to move forward.”

“Many leaders within the research, scientific, and agriculture communities have raised repeated concerns about this reorganization and relocation, including NSAC,” said Harriot. “We applaud policymakers in the House for acknowledging those very justified concerns, and for addressing this issue as one of their first actions of the year. We are hopeful that the 116th Congress can provide the necessary oversight to prevent the Administration from advancing a unilateral and hastily made decision. As the negotiations to reopen the federal government move forward, we urge both House and Senate leaders to stand together against this decision to relocate and reorganize ERS and NIFA until the serious concerns raised by stakeholders across the country can be fully addressed.”


About the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC):
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: https://sustainableagriculture.net

Categories: Budget and Appropriations, Press Releases, Research, Education & Extension

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