Rep. Vela’s Bill, The Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act, Passes in the U.S. House of Representatives

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Texas Border Business

On Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed my bipartisan bill, the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act.

Agriculture Inspectors, Technicians, and Canine Teams are critical to the protection and growth of our trade and agriculture industries, and my bill authorizes U.S. Customs and Border Protection to hire 240 new Agriculture Specialists and 200 Agriculture Technicians until staffing shortages are resolved.

The U.S. agriculture industry is crucial to the U.S. economy and generates more than $1 trillion in annual economic activity. Agricultural specialists at U.S. ports of entry intercept thousands of invasive pests and prevent the introduction of foreign animal diseases into the United States, protecting U.S. natural resources and the U.S. economy. Texas farms alone sold $24.9 billion in agricultural products in 2017, but those economic gains are threatened when our international ports of entry do not have the resources to mitigate pest and disease threats such as African Swine Fever.

I am honored the Protecting America’s Food and Agriculture Act of 2019 overwhelmingly passed in the House of Representatives with support from both sides of the aisle, and to have worked in partnership with Senator Peters to ensure this legislation gets signed into law. I want to thank my colleagues, Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson, Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, and Senator Gary Peters for their help in ensuring passage of this critical legislation.

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