U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander said legislation advanced by the Senate Appropriations Committee is good news for 340,000 Tennessee farmers, and will help Tennessee fight the opioid crisis.
Alexander called the bill, which was voted on this past Thursday (May 24, 2018), “a win for Tennessee farmers because it funds the Farm Service Agency, Rural Development programs and agricultural research at Tennessee’s universities.”
It also incorporates $425 million for access to broadband in rural communities and nearly $3 billion for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of the food Americans consume.
“I also want to thank Senator Hoeven for including two priorities I have been working on as Chairman of the health committee to help fight the crisis and support medical innovation. The bill strengthens FDA’s authority to identify and intercept illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, at international mailing facilities to help fight the opioid crisis. Each year, more than 1,000 Tennesseans die from opioid abuse or overdose—this epidemic takes more Tennessee lives than car accidents or gunshots do,” Alexander continued.
The Fiscal Year 2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations bill supports the USDA’s agriculture, rural development and conservation programs that aid farmers across the state. Tennessee is home to more than 66,000 farms and nearly 11 million acres of farmland.
The bill also provides $2.9 billion for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and $59 million for the FDA to help fight the opioid crisis. The legislation must now be considered by the full Senate.