Ag committee leaders try preemptive strike on budget cuts

10/17/2011 03:28:00 PM
Tom Karst

From the inbox this morning, a sign that House and Senate agriculture leaders are attempting to influence the shape of future farm bill budget cuts. Still, no specifics here. Details are promised by Nov. 1.....




Washington, DC – Today the leaders of the Senate and House Agriculture Committees sent a letter to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction recommending a $23 billion cut to mandatory spending within the committees’ jurisdiction.  Senators Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Representatives Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Collin Peterson (D-MN), Chair and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee, will continue working together on the details of the spending cuts in the same bipartisan fashion that has defined the process to date.   

The four lawmakers issued the following joint statement:

“Agriculture has a long legacy of bipartisanship and today the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are preserving that tradition. In the coming weeks, we will continue working with our House and Senate colleagues to provide the Joint Select Committee a detailed set of policy recommendations for achieving these important savings.”

The text of the letter sent by the four lawmakers is below.

October 14, 2011

The Honorable Patty Murray
Co-Chair
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
The Capitol
Washington, DC

The Honorable Jeb Hensarling
Co-Chair
Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction
The Capitol
Washington, DC

Dear Chairwoman Murray and Chairman Hensarling:

Pursuant to Section 401(b)(3)(ii) of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry and the Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Agriculture (the Agriculture Committees) recommend to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Joint Committee) $23 billion in net deficit reduction from mandatory programs within our jurisdiction.
 
As you know, the Agriculture Committees reauthorize most of the mandatory and discretionary spending programs in our jurisdiction every five years through omnibus legislation commonly known as the Farm Bill.  The current Farm Bill expires in 2012, and the Agriculture Committees have been working diligently on the many important policies we consider in this reauthorization process.
 
America’s farmers and ranchers face a daunting challenge producing the food, fiber, and fuel for a rapidly growing global population.  Farming and ranching are extremely high-risk undertakings – as clearly demonstrated by the devastating weather events across the nation this year.  America’s producers need tools to manage their risk in case of natural disasters and increasingly volatile prices; the Farm Bill provides those tools.


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