Tuesday, April 19, 2016

DeLauro Statement on Agriculture Appropriations Bill

WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) today released the following statement regarding the Agriculture Appropriations bill.

“Regrettably, I cannot support the Agriculture Appropriations bill because it contains partisan ideological riders that completely undermine our regulatory agencies’ abilities to do their jobs.

“While I offered two amendments today that would have stripped harmful provisions that exempt cigars from the tobacco deeming regulation and weaken compounding pharmacy regulations, special interests prevailed and my amendments were not adopted. Now is not the time to lower our standards for tobacco products or compounding pharmacies. We cannot put America’s children and consumers at risk.

“The Food and Drug Administration is one of our most critical lines of defense in ensuring the health and wellbeing of Americans. This bill restricts the FDA’s ability to finalize guidance on laboratory developed tests, which are currently unregulated. These tests are the precipice for people receiving treatment from life-threatening diseases, and having FDA regulate them would help ensure that they are more accurate and timely.

“Additionally, it is a shame that there is both bill and report language to prevent the FDA from finalizing their rule on generic drug labeling. Generic drugs should be allowed to update their labels with new safety information, just like name brand drugs have been able to for almost 30 years.

“This bill also further delays the FDA from finalizing menu labeling. Consumers have the right to know the nutritional content of their food and we should not continue to kick the can down the road when it comes to menu labeling.

“Further, the bill includes provisions of the 21st Century Cures Act that would expedite the approval process of medical devices and weaken the statistical standards for clinical trials—such substantial authorizing language has no place in an appropriations bill. This is not how Congress is meant to work.

“The issues with the bill are not just limited to provisions regarding the FDA. The bill includes a study to explore allowing the purchase of vitamins by WIC recipients. Vitamins are an unregulated industry with no guarantee of safety or effectiveness. If Republicans are concerned about nutritional deficiencies, then they should support increased access to healthy food such as fruits and vegetables.

“In 2010, the USDA proposed livestock and poultry farmer protection regulations and they received more than 60,000 public comments, most of them in support of the core set of proposals. However, this bill includes an amendment that would block USDA’s actions—delaying protections for farmers from unfair and abusive practices that are all too common.

“And finally, House Republicans once again failed to address the Zika virus. The Administration has provided additional details on their request—even noting that vaccine development is further along than anticipated—yet Republicans refuse to act. Americans across the country are starting to panic over what is yet to come, there is conflicting advice on whether an entire region should avoid pregnancy, and every day we learn more details about this disease. We must prepare ourselves with every tool possible to fight this virus before it becomes an all-out epidemic.

“The bill has too many provisions that would harm the health and safety of Americans by underfunding our food safety regulators and failing to adequately address nutrition and farm worker protections. As such, I do not support this bill.”

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