Path to the 2012 Farm Bill: Senate writes a bill, House plans deep budget cuts
The Senate Agriculture Committee has passed a new farm bill as of April 26. According to the National Journal:
Senators on both sides of the aisle praised the bi-partisan bill which the Congressional Budget Office says will shave off $24.7 billion from the deficit.
“We examined every program in the farm bill, and we reformed, streamlined, and consolidated to get perhaps the most significant reforms in agricultural policy of any farm bill in recent memory,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and the committee’s chairman.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has indicated he will take up the measure soon in the full Senate.
(The expectation is that the Senate will take up the Farm Bill sometime in mid to late May.)
The House Agriculture Committee has begun a series of hearings on Capitol Hill in their final review of current Farm Bill programs and policies. The committee is expected to write their version of the farm bill by late May.
The backdrop to House Agriculture Committee action is that the House Budget Committee has requested that they cut billions of dollars from the SNAP/food stamp program. The expectation is that several Republicans will call for deep cuts to SNAP; several Democrats will defend the program as an effective anti-hunger, anti-poverty program. SNAP currently provides monthly benefits to nearly 46.2 million people.
If the Nutrition program cuts are made, a larger fight will take place between the House and Senate; the stakes will be high for completing a Farm Bill this year.
NCRLC invites our members and supporters to show Congress there is broad support for a sustainable food and farm bill.
As an active member of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, we are promoting this policy blueprint:
The Coalition is fighting for these main points in Farm Bill budget proposals:
- Resist disproportionate cuts to farm bill spending.
- Stop cuts to anti-hunger programs.
- Account for the very substantial cuts already made to farm conservation programs by holding the line on any further reductions to working lands conservation.
- Reverse the decline in investments in rural economic and job growth.
- Restore mandatory funding budgets for key farm bill programs that spur jobs, innovation, and economic growth.
- Make reductions to commodity and insurance programs in a manner that is fair and that supports economic opportunity, including meaningful and effective caps on all subsidies.
Read more details at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition blog.