Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
WASHINGTON – Today, the House Agriculture Committee held a public hearing to review the state of the rural economy with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary (USDA) Tom Vilsack. In light of the March 1 effective date for the sequester, the primary topic of discussion was how USDA planned to implement the across-the-board spending cuts and what impact they would have on the agriculture sector. Members of the Committee asked the Secretary about his recent remarks that the sequester would cause meat inspector furloughs. Chairman Lucas also questioned if USDA, in preparation for the impact on food production and inspections, had made any requests to the House Appropriations Committee for flexibility or additional funds as it develops a Continuing Resolution for the remainder of FY2013.
"I appreciate the Secretary's time in trying to help us understand how USDA has prepared for implementing the sequester. Committee members have heard concerns from their constituents that the Secretary's recent statements about the interruption of production have affected prices, spooked financial markets and alarmed buyers and sellers in the retail and food service community. Today's hearing made clear that there are still unanswered questions about how the process will unfold," said Chairman Frank Lucas.
Written testimony provided by the witness is linked below. Click here to view the archived webcast.
The Honorable, Tom Vilsack, Secretary, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C.