Congress Finishes Budget, Moves on to Appropriations

May 1, 2009 Bookmark and Share

Congress finished work on a $3.56 trillion FY2010 budget resolution this week, with the Senate passing the conference report 53-43 and the House passing it 233-193.

The resolution passed in both chambers on mostly party-line votes, and contains contentious reconciliation instructions that could prevent filibusters in the areas of health care and student loan policy.

The budget resolution is nonbinding, but provides a guide for Members and committees during the appropriations process. The first step in that process will be the Obama Administration’s submission to Congress of a detailed budget outline, expected next week.

The final conference report did not include cuts to agricultural programs, and NAWG and almost 40 other agriculture groups wrote leaders of the House and Senate Budget Committees this week urging them to reject any attempts to find savings from the House and Senate Agriculture Committees.

The groups said, in part:

“While imposing further cuts to these already very limited financial resources would not make a meaningful dent in deficit reduction, we are concerned that such cuts would worsen the current economic hardship faced by U.S. farm and ranch families as they struggle with high production costs…and lower commodity prices…”

The groups emphasized a series of cuts already imposed on farm programs, including $7.4 billion cut in the 2008 Farm Bill and $21 billion saved over the life of the 2002 Farm Bill. All told, the farm safety net constitutes less than 1/4 of 1 percent of the federal budget and only about 16 percent of 2008 Farm Bill spending.

The full coalition letter is available at