News Releases

AGRICULTURE: Murray Secures Agriculture Wins in Annual Spending Bill

Jan 14 2014

Funding for critical research on Washington state goods to help WA farmers stay competitive in global marketplace

Secures funding for nutrition assistance program for women, infants, and children which serves approx. 8.7M people each month

(Washington, D.C.) – Late yesterday, a bipartisan, bicameral group of Appropriations Committee leaders released an omnibus Appropriations bill which includes several significant wins for Washington state secured by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), including funding for several agriculture research projects and programs.    

“This bill is undoubtedly a significant ‘win’ for Washington state’s agriculture industry, our farmers, and our economy,” Senator Murray said.  “Investing in research projects on agriculture goods will help our farmers stay competitive in the global marketplace.  I also fought hard to include critical funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program, which ensures our country’s most vulnerable families are able to put food on their tables during difficult times.” 

A list of funding for agricultural research and programs secured by Senator Murray is below:

  • $1.12B in Agricultural Research Service program and $772.6M in National Institute of Food and Agriculture research and education activities.  This funding will support critical research projects nationwide including a wide range of Washington agricultural goods, such as legumes, wine grapes, organic foods, and berries, and help Washington state farmers stay competitive in the global marketplace.
  • $1.35M for potato research that will develop and commercialize new potato varieties that will result in improved product quality, increased yields and a decrease in input requirements.  Potatoes are a valuable portion of the Pacific Northwest agricultural economy.  This research will result in sustainable production for growers, increased competitiveness for the Northwest and U.S. potato industries, and a healthy food product for American consumers.  **Funding for this research was not included in the House Appropriations bill.**
  • $1.35M for the Alfalfa and Forage Research Program, funding which was first authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill.  This funding will support research into alfalfa and forage which could increase alfalfa and forage yields, increase milk production, and improve forage genetics to increase biomass for the production of advanced biofuels.  Alfalfa and forage is consistently one of the top commodities in Washington in terms of production value.  **Funding for this research was not included in the House Appropriations bill.**
  • $6.7 billion Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, which will serve approximately 8.7 million participants nationally each month.

In December, Senator Murray, as Chair of the Senate Budget Committee, reached a landmark budget deal with U.S. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) that rolled back significant cuts from sequestration and provided a critical framework for the spending bill released today by the Appropriations Committee leaders.  Senator Murray, also a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was able to work with her colleagues to ensure several Washington state priorities were included in the omnibus package.  In order to become law, the House and Senate must each pass the omnibus bill, and it then must be signed by the President.  

Under cuts mandated by sequestration in the Budget Control Act, the government’s discretionary spending limit for FY 13 was $987 billion.  Under the budget agreement reached by Senator Murray and Rep. Ryan, the discretionary spending limit for this FY14 omnibus bill is $1.012 trillion. If not for the budget agreement, which rolled back cuts from sequestration, the FY14 budget topline would have been $967 billion.  The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013 maintains defense spending at roughly current levels and increases non-defense discretionary spending significantly by replacing almost two-thirds of this year’s cuts.