Homeland Security Department: U.S. Department of Agriculture Issues [Updated September 6, 2002] [open pdf - 40KB]
"The House Select Committee on Homeland Defense reported out its amended version of the President's proposal on July 19, 2002 (H.R. 5005), and the full House passed it on July 26. It reflects changes concerning the APHIS [Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] provisions that the House Agriculture Committee recommended (H. Res. 449): 3,200 APHIS border inspection personnel would be transferred, and the USDA [U.S. Department of Agriculture] Secretary would retain considerable authority over their activities and funding. Plant and animal quarantine functions, as well as all other APHIS program activities, would remain in USDA. H.R. 5005, as amended, retains the provision to transfer the Plum Island lab to the new department. [...] The changes that the House Select Committee made substantially address the concerns of the U.S. agriculture community, which feared that transferring all of APHIS out of USDA would seriously hamper the agency's considerable domestic, non-border activities. Agriculture interests still express concern that the Senate proposal would weaken APHIS's quarantine operations and limit the ability of border personnel to be assigned to certain other critical projects as needed. The issue of Plum Island is still under debate, as the House and Senate measures still differ on its transfer. Supporters maintain that the new department needs the lab's foreign animal disease diagnostic capabilities to detect potential bioterrorism, while opponents argue that the lab's research on behalf of the U.S. livestock sector would be hampered by its top-secret designation. This report covers the background and policy issues related to current reorganization proposals and will be updated as necessary."
CRS Report for Congress, RL31466
Policy Archive: http://www.policyarchive.org/