House and Senate Agriculture Leaders Resist Ryan Budget

Agricultural leaders in the House and Senate recently released statements opposing, to various degrees, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan’s recent budget proposal.

Ryan’s budget would significantly reduce federal farm subsidies, increasing an agreed upon $23 billion in spending cuts to $33 billion. In addition to sharply reducing overall farm subsidies, the Ryan plan would significantly reduce the government’s involvement in crop insurance. This proposal flies in the face of the recent Senate farm bill hearings, where Senator Debbie Stabenow, chair of the Senate Agricultural Committee, promised farmers that she would strengthen crop insurance programs.

Joining Stabenow in opposing the Ryan budget was ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, Democrat Collin Peterson, who stated, “The process outlined by the House Republican budget all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year.”

Opposition to Ryan’s budget transcends party lines. Frank Lucas, the chair of the House Agriculture Committee and a fellow Republican, had recently proposed subsidy cuts that would be offset by strengthened crop insurance programs.

Lucas’ response to Ryan’s bill, while muted, clearly demonstrated his disapproval. In a statement earlier this week, Lucas said, “I would caution people about reading too much into the numbers or policy proposals in either the President’s budget or the Ryan budget. They are only suggestions. We [will] write a fiscally responsible Farm Bill that ensures Americans continue to have a safe, affordable, and stable food supply.”

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer