The bill that would fund the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Food and Drug Administration and Commodity Futures Trading Commission in fiscal year 2012 sparked Democrat outrage over cuts for a nutrition program that helps needy women and children. The measure passed 217-203.
House members approved an amendment to the bill Thursday that halts U.S. payments to Brazil as part of a complex scheme that keeps that country from placing heavy duties on U.S. exports there. The U.S. government is now paying Brazil $12.275 million per month. Brazil won the right to impose the tariffs on U.S. goods during a World Trade Organization battle.
Another amendment approved as part of the spending bill prohibits the USDA from funding the installation of new gas station pumps that can dispense fuel with higher ethanol content than the current 10% standard.
The National Pork Producers Council praised the passage of the spending bill Thursday, saying it prevents the USDA from implementing an overhaul to rules that govern how livestock is sold to the packing industry.
USDA officials have argued that the proposed rules would put an end to practices that allow for price manipulation that harms the producer, but a growing number of lawmakers and groups like the National Pork Producers Council, the American Meat Institute and the National Meat Association argue that they would stifle livestock commerce by over-regulating transactions between farmers that raise livestock and the packers that buy them.