WASHINGTON, August 1 – By a surprisingly comfortable margin, the House approved the debt ceiling hike-deficit reduction bill on a 269 to 161 vote. The first round of budget savings totaling $900 billion will not require any reduction in farm safety net payments. The legislation creates a bipartisan congressional committee to recommend by Thanksgiving up to $1.5 trillion in additional savings over a decade starting in 2013, with much of the money expected to be cut from benefit programs like farm subsidies.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., released the following statement to Agri-Pulse after the House vote:    

“I would like to praise Speaker Boehner for negotiating the best deal possible to move our country forward. This is the first step in getting our fiscal house in order, and it will rein in run-away government spending and help provide certainty for the markets. The Agriculture Committee is prepared to do our part to return our country to sound financial footing. We have already begun evaluating farm programs through a series of audits, which will help us identify areas of duplication and prioritize the programs that are critical to supporting food production in our country. In the comings weeks and months it is my expectation that the Agriculture Committee will continue to engage our stakeholders and our colleagues in the House and Senate to determine the best path forward for developing long-term farm and nutrition policy that is fiscally responsible and provides producers the tools and certainty they need to feed the world.”

Lucas and 13 of his 25 GOP colleagues on the Ag Committee voted for the Budget Control Act of 2011. Of the panel’s 16 freshmen Republican members, nine voted “no.”

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