Super Committee Deadline Nears; Ag Leaders Prepping Ideas

October 13, 2011 Bookmark and Share

The deadline by which Congressional authorizing committees must submit budget cutting ideas and priorities to the debt-deficit super committee is Friday.

As of press time, indications from Capitol Hill have been that the House and Senate Agriculture Committees are preparing to submit ideas to super committee members, who are charged with finding at least $1.5 trillion in cuts for deficit-reduction efforts.

However, what the Ag Committee recommendations will entail is not yet clear, with negotiations ongoing and the possibility also on the table of the Committee offering some information in the coming days and more near the end of the month.

Since the establishment of the super committee over the summer, differing perspectives have emerged on what kind of information Ag Committee Members should offer to its process, which is slated to produce a proposal for Congressional approval by the end of the year.

Agriculture leaders, and agricultural policy groups, almost uniformly agree changes to farm policies should be made by the Ag Committees. It is possible that cuts to agriculture programs required by the super committee – or by across-the-board sequestration measures if the committee fails – could be so deep they virtually require a rewrite of the 2008 Farm Bill in the next few months.

On Thursday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) submitted her caucus’ ideas for the committee, including recommendations from several ranking members, but not House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.).

That fact supports comments Peterson made to D.C. publication The Hagstrom Report on Wednesday, where he indicated that he, House Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), Senate Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and Ranking Member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) are working together on a proposal.

As the process intensified, NAWG President Wayne Hurst, a wheat farmer from Burley, Idaho, and First Vice President Erik Younggren, a wheat farmer from Hallock, Minn., were in Washington Wednesday and Thursday, holding meetings on Capitol Hill along with NAWG’s policy staff members.

NAWG is closely watching the negotiations and working to communicate the importance of long-term investments in a functional farm safety net, agricultural research, export market development programs and conservation efforts.