D.C. Watch: Is a unified budget possible?

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


The House, Senate and administration have all released their budgets for fiscal 2014. The next logical step is for the House and Senate to hold a conference committee with the goal of working out differences so that both houses of Congress are working with the same frameworks.

But so far, the leaders in Congress have not indicated that they will even name members to take part in any conference committee. And even if a conference committee is convened, a unified budget would be nearly impossible to construct.

Why?

Because funding for government operations in the Republican majority House budget is nearly $100 billion less than the Democratic-majority Senate version, which emphasizes new tax revenues (opposed by many in the GOP) to help cover the Senate’s additional spending.

And with no compromise budget, it will be nearly impossible for Congress to agree on appropriations bills. That means the government will probably continue to operate on “continuing resolutions” (i.e. without a budget) into election-year 2014.

Meanwhile, the President’s budget proposal claims to cut $38 billion in ag spending over the next 10 years by 

  1. eliminating direct payments,
  2. cutting the government subsidy for crop insurance premiums and
  3. lowering the cap on the Conservation Reserve Program to 25 million acres from the current cap at 32 million. (Current enrollment is 29 million.)

However, the administration’s proposal did not cut any funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) and was declared “dead on arrival” by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, which is the normal response from the opposition party no matter who’s in the White House.

House and Senate Agriculture Committee members remain upbeat about passing a 5-year farm bill this year. Members of the Committee recognize the need for a farm bill but getting one passed through both houses of Congress will still be a challenge.

As detailed in the previous items, major disagreements over spending on food stamps and the structure of the dairy program remain and the House and Senate budget proposals for agriculture are far apart.

Still, some action on the farm bill is expected to start in May.

The long-discussed immigration reform bill was introduced in Congress last week.

The bill would, at least in theory, make it easier for farmers to find workers that are in the country legally and allow these “guest” workers to stay in the U.S. year-around. A total of 337,000 farm-worker visas could be issued over a three year period.

After five years, the bill proposes that USDA set an “appropriate cap” for the program, but doesn’t specify how that cap would be determined.


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 (0) Leave a comment 

Name
e-Mail (required)
Location

Comment:

characters left


SST Imagery Services

In conjunction with third-party imagery partners, SST Summit Professional users will soon be able to order imagery products on-demand. SST ... Read More

View all Products in this segment

View All Buyers Guides

Feedback Form
Feedback Form