D.C. Watch: Congress bickers over long-term budget solutions

decrease font size  Resize text   increase font size       Printer-friendly version of this article Printer-friendly version of this article

Last week Congress passed a bill that will fund the government through the rest of this fiscal year, averting a government shutdown. The current funding bill expires next week, just as Congress is set to take a week-long break. Time to debate options has essentially run out.

The need for USDA to furlough meat inspectors was avoided bill described above allowing USDA to shift funds around with some “discretion.”

USDA had previously announced plans to furlough meat inspectors one day per week over the last three months of the fiscal year unless the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) got additional money. Such a move would have forced 6,300 food inspection facilities to be closed on the days when no inspector was available, which would impact industry workers and meat supplies around the country, at an estimated cost of up to $10 billion to the economy.

Despite the budget stopgap, Republicans and Democrats can't agree on long-term budget solutions.

House budget plan targets food stamps for much bigger cuts. Released last week, the plan trims the federal budget deficit by $4.6 trillion over 10-years according to supporters, with cuts of around $130 billion to $150 billion coming out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP – also called food stamps).

There are estimates that the House bill would also cut an estimated $31 billion from commodity and crop insurance programs and $18 billion from conservation programs; a total of $49 billion. For perspective, last year’s House Ag Committee farm bill had USDA cuts totaling just $35 billion, including the cuts for SNAP. At least in the near term, there is little chance that the Senate will go along with such large cuts to SNAP.

Senate plan has far more modest cuts in total USDA funding. At least at this early point in the budget process, the Senate appears to be sticking with agriculture department cuts totaling $23 billion (including SNAP) over 10 years.

That’s essentially the same amount of cuts in the plan passed by the Senate last year, but then later reduced by about $10 billion. It’s important we note that so far, the spending cuts sought in both the Senate and the House budget proposals are just “general” savings objectives. The actual impacts on individual farm programs are yet to be finalized, and debate will likely be brutal over what gets cut.

Direct payments will be trimmed. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the government will have to trim the direct payments to farmers that were set to be paid out this fall under the extension of the old farm bill. In order to comply with the automatic spending cuts required under the sequester, direct payments will be trimmed by $152 million.

About 350,000 farmers receive direct payments under the current farm program extension with total payments near $5 billion.

Buyers Guide

Doyle Equipment Manufacturing Co.
Doyle Equipment Manufacturing prides themselves as being “The King of the Rotary’s” with their Direct Drive Rotary Blend Systems. With numerous setup possibilities and sizes, ranging from a  more...
A.J. Sackett Sons & Company
Sackett Blend Towers feature the H.I.M, High Intensity Mixer, the next generation of blending and coating technology which supports Precision Fertilizer Blending®. Its unique design allows  more...
R&R Manufacturing Inc.
The R&R Minuteman Blend System is the original proven performer. Fast, precise blending with a compact foot print. Significantly lower horsepower requirement. Low inload height with large  more...
Junge Control Inc.
Junge Control Inc. creates state-of-the-art product blending and measuring solutions that allow you to totally maximize operating efficiency with amazing accuracy and repeatability, superior  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The flagship blending system for the Layco product line is the fully automated Layco DW System™. The advanced technology of the Layco DW (Declining Weight) system results in a blending  more...
Yargus Manufacturing
The LAYCOTE™ Automated Coating System provides a new level of coating accuracy for a stand-alone coating system or for coating (impregnating) in an automated blending system. The unique  more...
John Deere
The DN345 Drawn Dry Spreader can carry more than 12 tons of fertilizer and 17.5 tons of lime. Designed to operate at field speeds up to 20 MPH with full loads and the G4 spreader uniformly  more...
Force Unlimited
The Pro-Force is a multi-purpose spreader with a wider apron and steeper sides. Our Pro-Force has the most aggressive 30” spinner on the market, and is capable of spreading higher rates of  more...
BBI Spreaders
MagnaSpread 2 & MagnaSpread 3 — With BBI’s patented multi-bin technology, these spreaders operate multiple hoppers guided by independent, variable-rate technology. These models are built on  more...

Comments (1) Leave a comment 

e-Mail (required)


characters left

Treading H20    
March, 25, 2013 at 02:40 PM

Around the farm here when we have to tighten our belts there also is a lot of angry "bickering" from the spendthrifts in the gallery. "Bickering" is a nice diplomatic description of what happens when we cut up the credit cards -- the roof is raised with a lot of wailing, warning, cursing, threatening, cajoling and pouting. It all eventually blows over as the spendthrifts settle back into some serious window shopping to get the jump on the next budget surplus when they can get back to shopping till they drop. Only difference is Congress not only can spend like drunken sailors, they can tax. Pretty nice racket but Cypress put 'em to shame with a new twist -- tax, seize and spend, spend, spend!

Grain Storage Systems

Behlen Grain Storage Systems offers large capacity bins with diameters from 16’ to 157’ and capacities exceeding 1,500,000 bushels. All ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form