Democrats’ Sequester Bill Contains Major Farm Spending

As Democrats and Republicans begin dealing with the looming sequester showdown, Senate Democrats have offered a compromise bill that would contain about $3.5 billion in new farm spending.

The sequester fight is a leftover from 2011’s debt ceiling debate. In order to obtain congressional support for increasing the US’s debt ceiling (and allowing the government to continue borrowing money to avoid a default) the president and both houses of Congress agreed to automatic, across the board spending cuts if Congress was unable to trim about $1 trillion in deficit spending.

True to form, Congress was unable to reach an agreement on deficits, with Democrats in the Senate pushing for increased taxes on the wealthy and with Republicans in the House of Representatives backing major cuts to social welfare programs.

With Congress kicking the sequestration can down the road until March 1, the House and Senate are both beginning to renew negotiations on spending. Senate Democrats recently offered their own version of the sequester replacement bill, one that contains about $54 billion in increased taxes for the rich as well as $3.5 billion in new farm spending.

The bill could complicate passage of a new five-year farm bill, however, since the proposed sequester bill would also cut direct payment farm subsidies, saving an estimated $27.5 billion, leaving the farm bill itself (which also proposed these same cuts) costing more money and adding to the deficit.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer