Stabenow, Boozman talk ag in budget conciliation
As the Senate today began consideration of the budget resolution, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and Senate Agriculture ranking member John Boozman, R-Ark., gave reporters insight on the process that is about to unfold.
The $3.5 trillion resolution, which provides for a $135 billion increase in agriculture spending, is expected to pass only on Democratic votes with Vice President Harris to deliver the 51st vote. The resolution provides instructions to each authorizing committee for consideration of programs under their jurisdiction.
The items listed in the instructions from the Senate Budget Committee:
▪ Agriculture conservation, drought, and forestry programs to help reduce carbon emissions and prevent wildfires.
▪ Rural development and rural co-op clean energy investments.
▪ Agricultural climate research and research infrastructure.
▪ Civilian Climate Corps funding.
▪ Child nutrition.
▪ Debt relief.
Stabenow said she does not plan to hold any formal committee hearings that will be open to Republicans, and she said Democrats have already had one meeting.
Stabenow has called for a $50 billion increase in conservation programs, but today would say only that there will be a “substantial investment in conservation.”
“The budget plan in total is about tackling the climate crisis,” Stabenow said.
Stabenow also sits on the Senate Finance Committee, which will be in charge of raising taxes to pay for the programs. Stabenow said today she is opposed to “penalizing family-owned farms,” but added that “the good news” is that the Democrats “will make sure the wealthy pay their fair share.”
Boozman said that even though the resolution would provide an additional $135 billion for agriculture, he is opposed to a process that does not include Republicans or open hearings.
“The $135 billion is unprecedented,” Boozman said. He added that he worries that the conservation provisions might take 30% of agriculture out of production, although Biden administration officials have said that is not the plan.
Boozman said he also worries about how the reconciliation process could affect the 2023 farm bill. Conservation programs that involve contracts with farmers cannot be changed during the farm bill process, he noted.
Boozman also said he is opposed to increases on farmers’ taxes including both the elimination of the stepped -up basis and an increase in capital gains.
But most of all, Boozman said, he worries that writing major legislation through reconciliation will “become the precedent” of how the Senate will proceed in the future.
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