Congressman Sanford Bishop

Representing the 2nd District of Georgia


May 30, 2014
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, released the following statement after the full Appropriations Committee passed its Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 government spending bill by a vote of 31 to 18.

“While not a perfect bill, the Agriculture government spending bill passed by the Appropriations Committee is boon for Georgia and our strong agriculture industry,” said Congressman Bishop. “In addition to billions of dollars allotted to rural development and Land Grant universities across the country like the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University, the bill will also invest $155 million in a new USDA Poultry Research Facility in Georgia.”

The bill totals $20.9 billion in discretionary funding, which is $500 million above the President’s request, and equal to the fiscal year 2014 enacted level. Including both discretionary and mandatory funding for various nutrition programs, the overall bill totals $142.5 billion. For more information on the FY 2015 impact on pecans and other tree nuts, please click here.

“Unfortunately, as with many legislative compromises, this bill falls short within certain areas. For example, if signed into law, school districts will be able to request an exemption waiver from healthy school lunch standards for our children,” added Bishop. “All other points aside, as an issue of national security, I am concerned that our decreasing national health may render our nation too fat to fight in the upcoming years. This must be addressed.”

According to Mission: Readiness, a non-partisan organization of senior retired military leaders, 75% of all young Americans between the ages of 17 and 24 are unable to join the military because they are medically or physically unfit, are too poorly educated, or have disqualifying criminal records. Every year, the military discharges over 1,200 first-term enlistees before their contracts are up due to weight problems. The military must then recruit and train their replacements at a cost of $75,000 per person, totaling roughly $90 million annually. This pales in comparison to the estimated $1.1 billion per year that the Department of Defense spends on medical care associated with excess fat and obesity through TRICARE.

For more information on funding levels and key provisions in the FY 2015 Agriculture Appropriations Bill, please click here.