Budget Rancor Starts; Obama FY2012 Proposal Due Monday

February 11, 2011 Bookmark and Share

House Republicans are expected to soon release a budget proposal that cuts $100 billion from federal government spending for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year, which runs until Sept. 30.

The proposal should be public before Monday, when President Barack Obama’s FY2012 budget is expected to arrive on the Hill, itself containing significant cuts, though likely to different program areas.

These anticipated proposals are illustrative of the two-front budget battle looming in Washington.

With widespread recognition that government spending must be reined in, and conservative Republicans eager to keep their campaign promises of large cuts, the pressure will be on all federal programs, including agriculture.

On Wednesday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) issued a list of cuts that were to be included in CR bill language, including $201 million from the Farm Service Agency; $246 million from agricultural research; $46 million from the Natural Resource Conservation Service; and $544 from international food aid grants.

However, Rogers’ planned spending cut of more than $74 billion met with swift disapproval by members of his caucus who would like to see even deeper cuts, prompting appropriators to go back to the drawing board.

On Thursday, Rogers said a new proposal would include at least $100 billion in spending cuts from the Obama Administration’s FY2011 proposal, but no details have been forthcoming as of press time that could indicate what he intends to cut or if those ideas will find widespread approval.

For their part, Senators, particularly Democratic Senators, seem disinclined to accept such deep cuts, though most recognize some will be necessary.

The consensus from more than 50 Hill visits held this week on wheat research funding by participants in an industry fly-in was that almost nothing would be spared the knife this fiscal year, regardless of need or importance.

NAWG staff is closely following the budget process and is working to prepare advocacy plans to push key priorities including farm program support, conservation spending, agriculture research funding and the full continuation of trade promotion programs including the Market Access Program and the Foreign Market Development program.