Senator Lamar Alexander on Thursday said legislation advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee is good news for 340,000 Tennessee farmers, and will also help Tennessee fight the opioid crisis.
“The bill I voted for today is a win for Tennessee farmers because it funds the Farm Service Agency, Rural Development programs, and agricultural research at Tennessee’s universities,” Senator Alexander said. “The bill also includes $425 million to help provide access to broadband for rural communities, and nearly $3 billion for the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the food American’s eat every day is safe.
“I also want to thank Senator Hoeven for including two priorities I have been working on as Chairman of the health committee to help fight the crisis and support medical innovation. The bill strengthens FDA’s authority to identify and intercept illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, at International Mailing Facilities to help fight the opioid crisis. Each year, more than 1,000 Tennesseans die from opioid abuse or overdose—this epidemic takes more Tennessee lives than car accidents or gunshots do.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill supports U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agriculture, rural development, and conservation programs that benefit farmers across Tennessee. Tennessee is home to more than 66,000 farms and nearly 11 million acres of farmland.
The bill also provides a total of $2.9 billion for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for protecting public health by assuring the safety and efficacy of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, and cosmetics. The bill also includes $59 million for FDA to help fight the opioid crisis, and provides $70 million to the FDA as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act, legislation Congress passed, and President Obama signed into law in 2016. Alexander was the chief architect of the 21st Century Cures Act, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called it “the most important legislation of the year.”
The Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill is consistent with the spending limits included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 approved by Congress, and signed by President Trump, in February. The legislation is now ready to be considered by the full Senate.