House GOP Funding Proposal Would Cut Sustainable Ag Programs

Reposted from the blog of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) •  February 12th, 2011

Following a revolt by some of their rank and file on Thursday, House Republican leaders on Friday night released their draft bill to cut government funding for the remainder of the fiscal year that end September 3 by a significantly larger amount then they planned for earlier in the week.  The bill would cut government spending by approximately $60 billion, a huge cut by any standard but one magnified by the challenge of trying to  achieve it in just half a fiscal year.

The agriculture function would take an enormous $5.2 billion or 22 percent cut under the House GOP proposed bill.  House Appropriation Committee savings tables by subcommittee functions can be viewed here.

The bill is expected on the House floor next week under a rule that will allow many amendments to be considered.  Following a week-long congressional recess that follows, the Senate will then take up its version of the so-called “continuing resolution” (CR) with only a week left before the current short-term runs out.  In all likelihood, the Senate will request a several week extension of the March 4 deadline in order to consider its bill and then go to conference with the House in an attempt to reach a consensus final bill.

Farm Bill Cuts

Not all of that $5.2 billion proposed cut to food and agriculture programs are represented by cuts to programs under the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee.  The bill also targets mandatory 2008 Farm Bill spending officially under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Committee, including cuts to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Conservation Stewardship Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, and Biomass Crop Assistance Program, among others.  Cuts to just those four mandatory programs total over $500 million.  By attacking farm bill direct spending nominally under the control of the Agriculture Committee, the Appropriations Committee was able to reduce cuts to spending under their direct control by the same amount.

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