Lucas: Budget reconciliation recommendations ‘just an exercise'

By Sara Wyant

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2012 -The House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., says recommendations for budget reconciliation cuts required by the House Budget Resolution are “just an exercise, and not the farm bill.” It's the perspective he will bring to a panel business meeting at 10 a.m. today.

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Reconciliation instructions for the House Agriculture Committee require lawmakers to make policy changes that result in 1-, 5-, and 10-year savings estimates of $7.7 billion, $19.7 billion, and $33.2 billion, respectively. The committee's GOP majority is expected to recommend during today's meeting that budget reconciliation cuts required by the House Budget Resolution be met entirely by reforms, elimination of loopholes and the reduction of waste, fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program.

“We don't expect the Senate to take up the reconciliation process,” Lucas said. “It's just an exercise to demonstrate our ability to achieve savings.”

Ranking Member Colin Peterson, D-Minn., said “this is not the time to have the fight” over the food stamp budget, because the reconciliation process “doesn't mean anything.

“All the House Committee members agreed we shouldn't give it any credibility,” he said. “We just have to get through the process.”

Peterson was critical of the House Budget Committee, saying the budget reconciliation process impedes progress to a mutually agreeable farm bill. He acknowledged that the Senate Agriculture Committee's farm bill reductions will be at $23 billion, while House Republicans will want to reach a reduction as high as $34 billion.

“We'll have another fight over food stamps when we get to the farm bill and that will be legitimate,” he added.


Original story printed in April 18th, 2012 Agri-Pulse Newsletter.

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