The proposed federal budget submitted earlier this week by Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan could cut roughly $180 billion from federal agricultural programs, including over $30 billion in cuts to crop insurance programs.
The fight over the Ryan budget is just the latest congressional drama over the 2012 Farm Bill and another impending budget battle on Capitol Hill. Over the past two years, congressional deadlock has prevented the government from passing several budgets, nearly leading to several government shutdowns and ultimately resulting in a credit downgrade.
Ryan’s budget, which is being fiercely resisted by Democratic Representatives and Senators, is the latest budget upset that has farmers worried about the passage of a new farm bill.
According to Senator Kent Conrad, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, “the House Republican proposal calls for about $180 billion in cuts to farm bill programs, including $31 billion to commodity and crop insurance programs, $133.5 billion to nutrition assistance programs, and about $16 billion to conservation programs,” upending a bipartisan agreement with both the House and Senate agriculture committees to cut only $23 billion from conservation, nutrition, and agriculture funding.
Representative Collin Peterson, the ranking member of the House Agriculture Committee, condemned the bill as an attack on hungry families and struggling farmers. Senate Agriculture Committee chair Debbie Stabenow criticized the bill as “undermin[ing] one of the few sectors in our economy that is growing and creating jobs.”
However, given the uproar the proposed budget has caused, provoking disapproval from farm advocacy groups like the American Soybean Association and the National Farmers Union, and even from Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee, the passage of the Ryan budget seems far from likely.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer