Agricultural Leaders Hold Firm on $23 Billion Cuts

Leaders of the House and Senate agricultural committees are firm in their commitment to limit all agricultural spending cuts to $23 billion. According to Capitol Hill sources, the House and Senate agricultural committees recently told the Congressional supercommitte that they opposed any spending cuts that went beyond the $23 billion already in the works.

The supercommitte and the budget battle are all the end result of last summer’s fight over the debt ceiling. In order to obtain an increase in the debt ceiling, Congressional leaders and President Obama agreed to cut almost $2 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years. A Congressional supercommitte has until next month to agree to these cuts to avoid an across the board budget reduction.

In order to avoid these across the board cuts, the supercommitte is considering billions of dollars of agricultural cuts. Congress is already moving to end direct payments to farmers in addition to lowering the budget for conservation programs and nutrition programs.

Farm leaders have reluctantly agreed to these cuts if politicians will agree to immunize agriculture from further budget reductions, arguing that they will have made their sacrifice to help balance the federal budget.

Added to these budget battles are fears regarding the upcoming Farm Bill, which many agricultural insiders believe will contain further budget cuts.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer