Press Release

Cuellar Fights For Fever Tick Eradication, Creates Pilot Program to Fight Diabetes

Helps pass Agriculure Bill funding low-income food programs, rural development and agriculture research

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Washington, July 10, 2009 | Ashley Patterson ((202) 225-1640) | comments
Congressman Henry Cuellar voted to pass the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Bill, 2010, which provides over $24 billion to the Department of Agriculture to fund low-income food programs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rural development programs, agricultural research and over $13 million in fever tick research dollars for South Texas.
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Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-Laredo) voted to pass the Agriculture and Rural Development Appropriations Bill, 2010, which provides over $24 billion to the Department of Agriculture to fund low-income food programs, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), rural development programs, agricultural research and over $13 million in fever tick research dollars for South Texas. The bill also includes a glucose screening pilot program, authored by Congressman Cuellar, to fight diabetes and lower obesity rates.

“In these hard economic times, we have to make sure our families can still put healthy food on the table, and ensure we don’t compromise the quality of food in their lives,” said Congressman Cuellar. “Everyone knows agriculture is a big slice of South Texas, and these fever tick funds will help our cattlemen fight a problem unique to our region, found nowhere else in the nation.”

Working with the Appropriations Committee, Congressman Cuellar helped secure $13.1 million for fever tick research to develop new strategies to eradicate fever ticks from South Texas cattle farms. The bill also includes nearly $3 billion for rural development, including rural housing, water projects, community facilities and economic development efforts.

Recognizing the challenging economic situation, the bill also expands the Nutrition for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, helping an additional 700,000 women and children gain access to nutritious food. Congressman Cuellar also authored a provision in the bill which creates a WIC pilot program adding glucose testing to WIC enrollee screening. Currently, screening is limited to anemia testing. Glucose screenings will help detect juvenile diabetes, adult diabetes and help lower obesity rates.

“This year we’ve put a premium on our nation’s health, ensuring healthy food and healthy lives. And we’re investing in our rural communities. Nearly three billion dollars will go towards rural development,” said Congressman Cuellar. “And as we fund these efforts we have to make sure we spend the money responsibly. Which is why I’m pleased my first-class travel amendment was included in the bill.”

Congressman Cuellar included an amendment to the bill that prohibits agencies from booking first-class travel for their employees, unless certain exemptions apply under law.

“This sets an important standard as millions of Americans have reprioritized their lives because of the economic crisis,” said Congressman Cuellar.

The bill passed in the House by a vote of 266 to 160. The bill focuses on protecting public health, bolstering food nutrition programs, agriculture research and strengthening animal health programs. Other notable provisions of the bill include the following:

Food and Drug Administration: $2.3 billion in discretionary funding for fiscal year 2010, an increase of almost $299 million above fiscal year 2009.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program: $180 million to provide nutritious food to over half a million low-income women, children and elderly citizens struggling with rising food costs. Texas is one of 32 states enrolled in the program and it will expand to six other states this year.

Agricultural Research: $1.2 billion for the Agriculture Research Program and $1.253 billion for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (formerly called CSREES)

Animal and Plant Health: $886 million to fund programs that protect American agriculture against animal and plant disease.

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Congressman Henry Cuellar is a member of the U.S. House Homeland Security, Agriculture, and Government Oversight & Reform Committees in the 111th Congress. Accessibility to constituents, education, health care, economic development, and national security are his priorities. Congressman Cuellar is also a Senior Whip and member of the Blue Dog Coalition.

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