Bill to Fund Key Agricultural Programs in Maine Clears Senate Hurdle with Provisions Championed by Senator Collins

Senator Collins worked to save the potato breeding research program, which the President’s budget request proposed to eliminate

The legislation would also preserve paper pharmaceutical inserts and ban PFAS in cosmetics


Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, announced that the full committee advanced the Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies funding bill by a vote of 25-5.  The legislation includes provisions pushed by Senator Collins to support potato and forest products research programs, expand access to rural broadband, and ban PFAS in cosmetics.

 

“This important legislation would assist our nation’s farmers, invest in critical agricultural research, and support jobs in rural parts of our state,” said Senator Collins.  “As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, I strongly advocated for the inclusion of these provisions, and I am pleased that they were incorporated in the final package.”

 

The FY 2022 Agriculture funding bill allocates $25.9 billion in discretionary funding to support federal agriculture and nutrition programs and $7.03 billion in emergency funding following various natural disasters impacting farmers and ranchers.

 

Provisions championed by Senator Collins to benefit Maine include:

 

·         Potato Industry.  $2.75 million was included for potato research grants, which the President’s budget request proposed to eliminate.  At an Appropriations Subcommittee hearing in June, Senator Collins urged the Secretary of Agriculture to reconsider this harmful cut.  The bill also includes language authored by Senator Collins to explicitly allow the use of potatoes in the National School Breakfast Program.  Additionally, the bill provides $20 million for the Integrated Pest Management Program (IPM), supporting the work of the University of Maine’s (UMaine) Cooperative Extension Potato IPM program to help farmers protect their crops.

 

·         Blueberry Industry.  The bill includes language authored by Senator Collins directing the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to continue working with research institutions on lowbush blueberries.

 

·         Forest Products Industry.  $3.5 million was included for research to support the forest products industry.

 

·         Rural Broadband. $700 million was included for the ReConnect Rural Broadband program, which furnishes loans and grants to support the construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide broadband service in eligible rural areas.

 

·         PFAS in Cosmetics. Includes language that mirrors Senator Collins’ No PFAS in Cosmetics Act that directs FDA to develop a plan to ban intentionally added PFAS substances in cosmetics.

 

·         E-Labeling of Pharmaceutical Inserts. The bill includes a provision authored by Senator Collins to block the FDA’s proposed e-labeling rule for prescribing information that would have allowed pharmaceutical companies to only distribute prescribing information electronically instead of using traditional paper inserts.  This misguided rule would negatively affect seniors, 90 percent of whom take at least one prescription drug in any given month. 

 

·         School Equipment Grants. The bill includes $35 million—a $5 million increase—for School Equipment Grants to help schools provide healthier meals to students across the country. 

 

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