Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Rep. Ryan and USDA

From Politico, reporting on the budget offered by the House Republicans:

"And with a new farm bill in the offing, Ryan envisions a major restructuring of food stamps together with cuts in commodity and crop insurance subsidies....

For the Agriculture Committee, which hopes to write a new farm bill before September, the expedited budget schedule poses both a severe challenge — and potential opportunity.
The draft numbers demand $8.2 billion over the first year, $19.7 billion over five years, and $33.2 billion over a decade. Indeed, the relatively high first-year number suggests that the budget will assume an early rollback of more generous food stamp benefits first allowed under the 2009 economic stimulus bill.

In terms of core commodity and crop insurance programs, the longer-term savings are considerably more than the draft farm bill negotiated by the House and Senate Agriculture leadership last fall. That measured saved just $23 billion over 10, compared with $33.2 billion.

But if a compromise can be found, the Agriculture Committee could find it in its interest to hitch a ride with the budget package so as to get a farm bill across the House floor with a minimum number of amendments.

Leaving himself a little room to bargain, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) gave a gentle reminder that farm policy is still his domain.
“I would caution people about reading too much into the numbers or policy proposals in either the President’s budget or the Ryan budget,” Lucas said in a statement.”They are only suggestions.”

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