Senate passes budget deal, NSAC notes loss of mandatory funds | TheFencePost.com

Senate passes budget deal, NSAC notes loss of mandatory funds

-The Hagstrom Report

The Senate passed a two-year budget and debt ceiling deal that will allow the fiscal year 2020 appropriations process to move forward.

The vote was 67 to 28. The House has already passed the bill and President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) welcomed news of the long-awaited budget deal, but lamented that Congress has handicapped critical farm bill programs in the process.

“While we are relieved and thankful that the budget deal will allow the appropriations process to finally move forward, we are disappointed that congressional leaders chose to extend mandatory sequestration yet again as part of the deal,” said Juli Obudzinski, NSAC interim policy director.

“With a new farm bill signed into law just seven months ago, this deal will slash billions from investments made under the 2018 farm bill,” she said.

“By extending sequestration of mandatory funding through 2029, this budget deal unfairly comes at the expense of critical support programs, including: conservation, dairy, trade promotion, organic research, local food, and programs for beginning farmers and farmers of color,” Obudzinski said.

“With farmers continuing to struggle under the continued downturn and financial stress across the entire farm economy, farm programs should be the last place to turn to find budgetary savings. Extending this pain for another decade is not just unthoughtful, it’s unconscionable.”

NSAC also urged appropriators to prioritize funding increases across farm and food programs,“including beginning farmers, sustainable agriculture research, food safety and value-added agriculture.”