Secretary Vilsack testifies before Congress

April 6, 2023

Last week, Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack testified before the House Committee on Agriculture as it prepares for the upcoming farm bill. He also testified on President Biden’s budget request for fiscal year 2024 before the House and Senate Appropriations Subcommittees on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration.

Throughout these hearings, Republican members questioned the Secretary on the Department’s updates to the Thrifty Food Plan, which increased spending for nutrition programs. Republican members also targeted how the Commodity Credit Corporation has been used to fund climate programs under the Biden Administration. Democratic members raised questions about the potential impacts of recent Republican efforts to alter nutrition program eligibility.

During the hearings, members also asked the Secretary about how the USDA was addressing challenges facing the egg industry, including highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). Secretary Vilsack explained how the Department has leveraged the Commodity Credit Corporation and provided producers support in depopulating flocks. He also discussed veterinarian shortages and USDA’s work in expanding markets for egg products.