Washington Week Ahead: More pressure to ‘Go big' on deficit reduction

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, Nov. 7 - As members of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees continue to work on finding $23 billion in farm bill spending cuts as part of $1.2 trillion package aimed at deficit reduction, many of their colleagues are suggesting that it may not be enough.


Reps. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho and Heath Shuler, D-NC., are leading a group of more than 100 representatives who sent a letter to the Super Committee last week, urging the bipartisan panel to go past its mandate of $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years and find $4 trillion in deficit reduction.

They've been joined by 45 senators.


“To succeed, all options for mandatory and discretionary spending and revenue must be on the table,” reads the letter, which has been endorsed by at least 60 Democrats and 40 Republicans.

 Together we can feed the Bees


"This is bipartisan way that we can support those 12 members and say, 'we have your back and we know you have to make difficult decision and choices,'" Shuler explained on Fox News Sunday.  


“Like many economic experts, we believe we have this one chance to show the political fortitude to right this sinking ship,” Simpson and Shuler wrote in an editorial published in the Idaho Statesman today. “Our nation's economic future depends on Congress's willingness not only to make the $1.2 trillion in cuts required under the Budget Control Act, but to take this opportunity to go bigger than that and make the $4 trillion in reductions that experts agree is necessary to stabilize our economy.”


But as members of the 12-member Super Committee continue to deliberate behind closed doors, it is still unclear whether or not they will be able to reach a deal before Thanksgiving.


Speaking on ABC's This Week, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said he would not describe the Super Committee's current situation as an “impasse,” but pointed to the difficult decisions ahead. Boehner said he would do “everything I can to ensure that the super committee is successful.”

Meanwhile, the Senate plans to take up legislation that would repeal a six-year old congressional mandate, known as the 3 percent withholding rule. The rule, which is scheduled to go into effect in 2013, would withhold payments to contractors in a bid to ensure taxes are collected, but it is viewed by many as a costly burden on contractors.

The House, which is not in session this week, has already approved the bill, H. R. 674, and voted to adjust a calculation for Medicaid eligibility in order to offset an estimated $11.2 billion in revenues over 10 years that the new rule was expected to generate. However, Senate Democrats indicate that they don't the offset, and may try to look at raising taxes on corporate jet owners as the “pay for.”

For other hearings and events this week:

Monday, November 7

10:00 a.m., House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure field hearing, NextGen: Leveraging Public, Private and Academic Resources in Daytona Beach, Florida.

2:00 p.m., Senate convenes and begins a period of morning business. Thereafter, resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.674, the 3% Withholding Repeal and Job Creation Act.

USDA Reports: Crop Progress

Tuesday, November 8

10:00 a.m., the Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce of the Committee on Small Business will meet for a field hearing titled Examining the Barriers for Small Business Contractors at the DoD. Sumter, SC. 

10:30 a.m., Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources to consider market developments for US natural gas, including the approval process and potential for liquefied natural gas exports (HEARING ROOM SD-366).

Wednesday, November 9

USDA Reports: Crop Production, Cotton Ginnings, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, World Agriucltural Production, Cotton: World Markets and Trade, Grains: World Markets and Trade, Oilseeds: World Markets and Trade, Broiler Hatchery, Season-Average Price Forecasts

Thursday, November 10

Secretary Vilsack will hold a press conference at the National Association of Farm Broadcasters annual conference in Kansas City, MO.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan will deliver remarks at the department-wide Veteran's Day Observance at USDA in Washington, DC.

Deputy Secretary Merrigan will host a People's Garden event to highlight new funding for community gardens in Baltimore, MD.

USDA Reports: U.S. Export Sales, Dairy Products Prices, Peanut Prices, Rice Outlook, Oil Crops Outlook, Latest U.S. Agricultural Trade Data

Friday, November 11

The Senate is in session through Friday.

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