House Budget battle brews over Rep. Ryan's plan

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, March 28, 2012 -On Wednesday, the House of Representatives will start debating and voting on a new 2013 budget and establishing budgetary levels from 2014 to 2022. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., has been leading the push for H.Con Res. 112, but six amendments crafted as complete substitutes could be considered.

 Together we can feed the Bees

Ryan's plan calls for cutting President Barack Obama's latest budget proposal by $5.3 trillion over the coming decade, with $2 trillion in tax reductions. That's not enough for some conservative Republicans, who plan to offer a bigger budget cutting alternative. Meanwhile, Democrats say Ryan's budget measure cuts way too much. 

The Ryan plan proposes about $181 billion in farm bill cuts in three primary areas:  Commodity programs, conservation, and nutrition. If the budget resolution is approved by the full House, as expected, members of the House Agriculture Committee are expected to have discretion to make cuts within the total $994.6 billion in budget authority available for mandatory farm bill funding in the March 2012 Congressional Budget Office baseline.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md, the ranking minority member of the House Budget Committee, plans to offer an alternative plan that calls for reducing spending in “farm programs that provide direct payments to producers even in robust markets and in times of bumper yields. The committee should also find ways to focus assistance away from wealthy agribusinesses and toward struggling family farmers in a manner that protects jobs and economic growth.” And in a shot at the few lawmakers who also farm, the resolution says no member of Congress should receive commodity payments if they exceed 15% of their annual base pay. The Democratic budget fully funds the food stamp (SNAP) program and supports the President's proposal to continue certain benefits as part of a push for expanded eligibility.


Original story printed in March 28, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.

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