Friday, March 23, 2012

Just in from Washington

House Republican Budget Resolution Would Slash Ag Spending

Washington--House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) 2013 budget blueprint, released on Tuesday, instructs the House Agriculture Committee to reduce spending by $33.2 billion over 10 years. The budget resolution breaks the reductions down as follows: $8.2 billion in the first year and $19.7 billion in the first five years, with the ultimate reduction of $33.2 billion in 10 years.

The committee passed Ryan’s budget resolution on Wednesday.

The specifics on agriculture are limited, although the 99-page document proposes reducing the fixed payments that go to farmers irrespective of price levels and reforming “the open-ended nature of the government’s support for crop insurance, so that agricultural producers assume the same kind of responsibility for managing risk that other businesses do.”

The spending reduction targets are the only numbers the House Budget Committee will pass along to the Agriculture Committee. It is Agriculture Committee members who decide how the reductions are implemented, as committee chairman Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) alluded to in his statement on the budget resolution.

“I would caution people about reading too much into the numbers or policy proposals in either the president’s budget or the Ryan budget,” Lucas said.“They are only suggestions.During our process, both policy and deficit reduction targets will be developed in conjunction with Ranking Member [Collin] Peterson [D-Minn.] and members of the committee as we write a fiscally responsible farm bill that ensures Americans continue to have a safe, affordable and stable food supply.”

Peterson, ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, said Ryan’s proposal leaves the farm bill “high and dry.”

“The Ryan budget proposes significant cuts in the farm safety net and conservation programs, and slashes spending on nutrition programs that provide food for millions of Americans,” Peterson said in a statement. “It is appalling that in an attempt to avoid defense cuts the Republican leadership has elected to leave farmers and hungry families hurting.”

Ryan’s budget resolution

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