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Rep. Young Votes For Agriculture Appropriations Legislation

Washington, D.C. Alaskan Congressman Don Young voted yes this afternoon on H.R. 2112, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012.  The cost of this legislation is $125.5 billion, a reduction of more than $7 billion from the President’s request.  While the bill reduces funding for the agencies and programs under its jurisdiction, it provides sufficient funding for them to focus on their core missions.

“This appropriations legislation is always significant to Alaska,” said Rep. Young.  “The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is an important and often overlooked source of funding for rural development.  As a state comprised mostly of small, rural communities, the programs funded through this bill are not only beneficial, but necessary.”

This legislation contains Rep. Young’s amendment banning the FDA from approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption, which passed by a voice vote last night.

Additionally, Rep. Young worked with his colleagues to secure the following funding in H.R. 2112, for programs of National Significance that will benefit Alaska:

  • $65 million for Village Safe Water Grants, which will help bring clean water and sewer to village residents so as to decrease instances of rampant Tuberculosis, and other communicable diseases.  This program is essential to the health and well-being of Alaska’s Native population.
  • $14 million for the Circuit Rider Program, which helps ensure clean and safe drinking water for small and rural communities.
  • $3.605 million for Grassroots Source Water Protection which helps prevent source water pollution in States through voluntary practices installed by producers at the local level.
  • $845.67 million for USDA direct loans which provide tremendous benefit to small rural communities that have the fewest options for affordable housing, and have even less access to private lending institutions.  Specifically, Section 502 helps low-income individuals or households purchase homes in rural areas.  These loans are very cost efficient and the projected cost is only about $5,000 per loan in FY 12 – less than the one-year cost of a Section 8 rental assistance voucher for a family.
  • $22 million for Self-Help Housing Program Grants.  Specifically, Section 523 grants help nonprofit sponsors assemble land, and provide training and guidance to the self-help families.  Self help housing allows for families to work nights and weekends to earn up to 65% of the equity of their home by building it.
  • $500,000 for transportation technical assistance to promote economic development in rural communities.

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