House Ag asks budgeteers not to cut farm bill programs
The House Committee on Agriculture approved its Budget Views and Estimates Letter for fiscal year 2018 and sent it to the House Budget Committee.
In the letter, committee members urged House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black, R-Tenn., “to consider the estimated $104 billion in savings from the current farm bill, more than four times what had previously been pledged, and the fact that these savings are being achieved amidst a bleak, and worsening, economic outlook in farm country,” the committee said in a news release.
At the markup session, House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway stated, “We do not yet know what resources we will need to write an effective, new farm bill. But, what we do know is that our committee has more than demonstrated our fiscal bona fides, and we have earned the budget flexibility that may be necessary to craft and enact into law the 2018 farm bill.”
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., added in an opening statement, “We have a new farm bill to write this year, and I will oppose any attempts to further reduce farm bill spending. I think that, by and large, the current farm bill is working as we intended. We will have to make some tweaks to different programs, but we should not be looking to reduce our budget.
“I also think that attempting to separate the farm and nutrition pieces of the bill would only blow the whole thing up. Hopefully those that were pushing this idea last time learned their lesson,” he concluded. “The views and estimates letter was collaboration between the majority and minority, and I look forward to continuing this collaboration as we begin writing the 2018 farm bill.”