Agriculture Not Hard Hit By House and Senate Budgets

March 27, 2009 Bookmark and Share

The House and Senate Budget Committees approved FY2010 budget resolutions this week with relatively minor implications for agriculture.

It had been unclear if the outlines, which provide guidance to subject-matter committees, would contain reconciliation instructions requiring those committees to find savings in existing programs.

The resolution passed by the House Budget Committee did not contain reconciliation instructions for agriculture programs.

The Senate Budget Committee’s resolution, passed on Thursday by a 13 to 10 vote, did touch on agriculture by finding budget savings through changes to the federal crop insurance program. An amendment from Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to save money through government agreements with private crop insurance companies passed by a 14 to 9 vote, though details remain unclear.

The Obama Administration issued its budget blueprint in late February. That proposal included a number of items that would have been detrimental to farm programs in the 2008 Farm Bill, including the elimination of direct payments for producers with gross sales of more than $500,000 annually.

Multiple efforts have been under way among commodity groups and on the Hill to express opposition to these ideas.

This week, 17 Senators sent a letter spearheaded by Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.) to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Ranking Member Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) expressing strong opposition to the Obama proposals and other efforts to reopen the 2008 Farm Bill.

That letter can be read in full at http://roberts.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressRoom.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=3441e7b8-802a-23ad-486c-360b52c969fb