The U.S. Senate yesterday passed a continuing budget resolution that would keep the federal government operating through the end of the fiscal year on September 30th and keep meat inspectors off the chopping block.
The Senate unanimously passed an amendment introduced by Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) to the Continuing Resolution (CR) solves a funding gap for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that threatened to furlough meat inspectors under the sequester.
The Pryor/Blunt amendment will protect Americans’ jobs at meat, poultry, and egg production facilities nationwide. It’s estimated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) projected food inspector furloughs would have closed nearly 6,300 food inspection facilities across America. As a result, over 500,000 industry workers would have lost nearly $400 million in wages.
The amendment transfers $55 million in existing agriculture funds to FSIS in order to ensure food inspectors are not furloughed. These facilities are required by law to have federal inspectors on the production line in order to operate. It adds no additional cost to the bill. Instead, it moves one-time funding for school equipment grants and deferred maintenance on buildings and facilities at USDA.
The Senate spending bill was approved 73-26 and now goes to the House.