Cuts in Upcoming Farm Bill Already Being Laid Out
Tuesday, October 18th, 2011
The House and Senate agriculture committees are proposing that the deficit-cutting supercommittee take $23 billion from programs under the farm bill over the next 10 years. However, the panels say they'll need until Nov. 1 to have a plan for where the panel should make the cuts, reports the Des Moines Register.
President Obama had proposed to cut farm spending by $33 billion, with most of that coming from abolishing direct payments to farmers and cutting subsidies for crop insurance. The cuts that the ag committees propose could come in a range of programs, including conservation and nutrition, not just crop subsidies.
In the letter, the committees argue that farm bill programs, including crop insurance, conservation and food stamps, already have been cut back in recent years.
The four leaders of the committee said in a joint statement: 'Agriculture has a long legacy of bipartisanship and today the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are preserving that tradition. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with our House and Senate colleagues to provide the Joint Select Committee a detailed set of policy recommendations for achieving these important savings.'
The lawmakers include the chairman and top Democrat on the House committee, Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Collin Peterson, D-Minn.; and the chairman and top Republican on the Senate panel: Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Pat Roberts, R-Kansas.
The agriculture committees' work is raising alarms among groups who fear that the supercommittee could write the panels' proposals into its deficit-reduction plan, leaving these groups without a say in how farm, conservation and nutrition programs are rewritten.