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Securing Our Agriculture and Food Act – HR 5346

Biological Defense News

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) this week released its cost assessment of H.R. 5346 – Securing our Agriculture and Food Act.

The bill amends the Homeland Security Act of 2002 to direct the Assistant Secretary for Health Affairs to carry out a program to coordinate Department of Homeland Security (DHS) efforts related to defending the food, agriculture, and veterinary systems against terrorism and other high-consequence events that pose a high risk to homeland security.

Such program shall include:

  • Providing oversight and management of the Department’s responsibilities pursuant to Homeland Security Presidential Directive 9 – Defense of United States Agriculture and Food.
  • Providing oversight and integration of activities related to veterinary public health, food defense, and agricultural security.
  • Leading policy initiatives relating to food, animal, and agricultural incidents, and the impact of such incidents on animal and public health.
  • Leading policy initiatives relating to overall domestic preparedness for and collective response to agricultural terrorism.
  • Coordinating with other components, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as appropriate, on activities related to food and agriculture security and screening procedures for domestic and imported products.

CBO estimates that implementing H.R. 5346 would cost less than $500,000 a year; such spending would be subject to the availability of appropriated funds. In 2016, the department allocated about $450,000 for this activity.

CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5346 would not increase net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.

The bill was introduced by Rep. Young, David [R-IA-3] on May 26, 2016 and is co-sponsored by Rep. Donovan, Daniel M., Jr. [R-NY-11].

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