Farm Action, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Rural Coalition, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and 157 signing organizations criticized a move by Congress to rescind between $1.6 and $1.65 billion of USDA funding.
In open letters addressed to President Biden and members of Congress, the organizations urged Congress to reconsider provisions in the Covid Supplemental Appropriations Act that take money away from essential food system resiliency programs.
“The proposed rescission will leave USDA without resources to respond to supply chain disruptions exacerbated by the instability in Europe,” the letter states. “Eliminating these programs will endanger not only [farmers’ and food system workers’] well-being but also the resilience of our food and farm system.”
The Covid Supplemental Appropriations Act was introduced in the House in March for continued pandemic management. To pay for these efforts, the bill includes provisions that take back $1.65 billion allotted to the USDA in 2021, which amounts to 5% of USDA’s total programs and operations budget. The funding recission emerged from a closed-door meeting in late March, and it would appear the Senate is following the House’s lead. The White House has lent support to the move.
The organizations urged the White House and Congress to fund its ongoing pandemic efforts while honoring its “investments in a more just, equitable, and resilient food and farm system.”
Dee Laninga, firstname.lastname@example.org, 202-450-0094
Melodie Mendez, email@example.com, 212-727-4442
Laura Zaks, lzaks@sustainableagriculture.
Lorette Picciano, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-624-8869
Lisa Nurnberger, email@example.com, 443-668-9219