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House Approps passes ag bill, including study of dietary guidelines methods

-The Hagstrom Report
The House Appropriations Committee today met in the Ways and Means hearing room in order to practice social distancing while considering a series of fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, including the Agriculture bill and the State-Foreign Operations bill that covers the U.S. Agency for International Development.
Photo by Jerry Hagstrom/The Hagstrom Report

The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved by voice vote the fiscal year 2021 appropriations bill covering the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the Farm Credit Administration.

The committee, which met in the Ways and Means hearing room and practiced social distancing, approved the bill by voice vote. Some “No” votes could be heard, but no one asked for a roll call vote.

House Appropriations Committee ranking member Kay Granger, R-Texas, said some provisions stopping the Trump administration from making “reforms” could be “poison pills,” and House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee ranking member Jeff Fortenberry, R-Neb., also noted his dissatisfaction with some provisions and the bill’s financing.

A manager’s amendment sponsored by House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, D-Ga., orders the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine to complete within one year an analysis of the latest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with a focus on the methodology used, and comparing it to recommendations the National Academies recommended in 2017.

Some nutritionists and other advocates have said that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee should delay its report to the Agriculture and Health and Human Services secretaries who write the final guidelines, but the committee appears on track to submit its report in July.

The five-year guidelines are expected to be issued by the end of the year. The committee’s methodologies have been controversial for years.

The only other amendment was one by Bishop to give FDA legal authority to require the recall of unsafe prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

The Agriculture bill and other appropriations bills are expected to be considered on the House floor the last two weeks of July.


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