Roberts, Lucas: President Obama's deficit reduction plan is not credible
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WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 - President Barack Obama finally showed farm country how he thinks farm programs should be cut as part of the deficit reduction process today. In a Rose Garden speech, the President called for $33 billion in cuts for farm programs, including direct payments, crop insurance and conservation.
U.S. Representative Frank Lucas (R-OK), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement in response.
"The agriculture community remains willing to do its part in getting our fiscal house in order, but, in essence, President Obama's plan for economic growth and deficit reduction is not credible.
"The President's policy priorities reveal a lack of knowledge of production agriculture and fail to recognize how wholesale changes to farm policy would impact the people who feed us. For example, cutting $8 billion from the crop insurance program puts the entire program at risk. We have heard again and again from producers that crop insurance is the best risk management tool available. In jeopardizing this program, the President turns a deaf ear to America's farmers.
“Meanwhile, SURE has not worked as intended for most crops, but the President proposes extending it. The President only proposes a $2 billion cut, roughly three percent, to conservation despite his claim that conservation spending has increased 500 percent through the years. And, the President does nothing to address waste, fraud, abuse, and other integrity issues within nutrition programs, which account for 80 percent of USDA spending.
"Ultimately, cuts to agriculture must reflect its diversity across the country, respect the challenges producers face, and preserve the tools necessary for food production."
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