What is in this article?:
- Ryan budget would slash agriculture spending $30 billion
- NFU weighs in
• House Budget Committee releases a proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2013.
• If enacted, the plan would cut agriculture spending some $30 billion over the next decade and those writing the next farm bill will have to adhere to those limits.
On Tuesday, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, released a proposed federal budget for fiscal year 2013.
If enacted, the plan would cut agriculture spending some $30 billion over the next decade and those writing the next farm bill will have to adhere to those limits.
Ryan’s fellow House Republicans said his proposal was strong, necessary medicine for the country’s financial woes.
Meanwhile, Democrats warned the plan threatens the ability of Congress to pass a farm bill during an election year.
In recent months, farm state legislators have proposed cuts to agriculture of around $23 billion, while the Obama administration would cut $32 billion.
“Chairman Ryan's proposed budget demonstrates that House Republicans are willing to lead and make the difficult decisions necessary to tackle our debt and deficit crisis,” said Oklahoma Rep. Frank Lucas, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, in a statement.
While Lucas doesn’t “support every detail and proposed cut … writing and passing a budget is the most basic function of governing and requires leadership and political courage.”
Still, Lucas hasn’t bought into the Ryan plan without hesitation. “I would caution people about reading too much into the numbers or policy proposals in either (Obama’s) budget or the Ryan budget. They are only suggestions. During our process, both policy and deficit reduction targets will be developed in conjunction with (Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, ranking member, and the House Agriculture Committee) as we write a fiscally responsible farm bill that ensures Americans continue to have a safe, affordable, and stable food supply.”
In a separate statement, Peterson was much less kind to the Ryan proposal. “The process outlined by the House Republican budget all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year.
“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. It is appalling that in an attempt to avoid defense cuts the Republican leadership has elected to leave farmers and hungry families hurting.
“We need to get our spending under control and agriculture has shown that we can do our part, but all other sectors of our economy need to do so as well. To do otherwise is irresponsible.”
Saying he had not yet read the Ryan proposal, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack declined to comment on it during a Tuesday morning press conference.
To reach the $30 billion target, Ryan would largely target the $5-billion-a-year direct payments farmers receive — a move not likely to be contested by either party following legislator comments during a series of recent farm bill hearings. Ryan would also cut federal payments to crop insurance by around 20 percent.
Ryan’s budget would also slash around $123 billion from nutrition programs by converting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) into block grants to states.