Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood says he is “disappointed” to see the White House is again proposing the closure of the Peoria Ag Lab.
President Donald Trump’s proposed 2019 budget has the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria among 19, and four of its kind, of U.S. Agriculture Department research facilities to be closed.
A Trump budget proposal last year also tabbed the Peoria facility for closure, but funding for the Ag Lab was included in an agriculture appropriations bill approved by the House Appropriations Committee.
“Peoria’s Ag Lab, and the researchers employed there, continue to serve a vital role in the local community,” LaHood said in a statement released by his office.
“We must remember that the president’s budget proposal is just that, a proposal, and Congress holds the ultimate power of the purse,” LaHood said. “Similar to last year, this will remain a top priority for me to work in a bipartisan and bicameral way at the local, state and federal levels to maintain funding for the lab and ensure the facility remains an integral part of Peoria and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s research efforts.”
The office of Democratic U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos released her statement Monday concerning the president’s proposed budget cuts, including the Ag Lab.
“President Trump’s budget is a disaster for hardworking families across the heartland and I’m going to fight tooth and nail to stop it,” Bustos said.
“If (Trump’s) goal was to punch middle America in the gut, then this budget hits the mark with one broken promise after another,” Bustos said. “Whether it’s undermining Peoria’s economy by closing the Ag Lab, defunding a program that supported Rockford in creating a skills pipeline to help create jobs or eliminating another program that is largely responsible for funding the Q Multimodal station in Moline – the Trump budget would hurt the hardworking families I serve. And by ripping $26 billion out of the crop insurance program, President Trump is signaling to farmers across the heartland that they’re on their own if disaster strikes.”