Congress should provide $30 billion for climate-friendly agricultural practices and organic production in the upcoming reconciliation bill, said five dozen farm, environmental, and food groups in a letter to Democratic leaders on Wednesday.
The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a mammoth USDA-FDA funding bill on Wednesday that includes $7 billion in disaster funds for crop and livestock losses in 2020 and this year. Almost immediately after the 25-5 vote, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell threatened to sidetrack the USDA and other appropriations bills in a budget dispute with Democrats, who control the Senate.
Farm, wildlife, and environmental groups, from the Sierra Club to the National Farmers Union, on Wednesday called on lawmakers to increase funding for USDA land stewardship programs by $50 billion.
The 11 Republican members of the Senate Agriculture Committee asked chairwoman Debbie Stabenow on Thursday to open up the decision-making process on how to spend a potential windfall of $135 billion.
Whether they are Democrats or Republicans, members of the House and Senate Agriculture committees routinely say the panels are the least partisan in Congress, even if the harmony is strained from time to time. In the weeks ahead, the infighting over President Biden's two-part infrastructure package will test that comity on the Senate panel.
Thirty Democrats in the House and Senate, in a letter to congressional leaders working on broad-scale climate and infrastructure legislation, called for "a substantial investment in farmers, ranchers, and rural communities as part of the climate solution."
Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue reached back to his days as a governor to explain why the Trump administration proposed a 31-percent cut in crop insurance funding even if the plan has no traction on Capitol Hill.
This week's White House budget proposal to cut crop insurance by 31 percent and to tighten eligibility rules for farm subsidies would save less in 10 years than the administration spent to mitigate the impact of the Sino-U.S. trade war on 2018 and 2019 farm production, said an economist.
The Trump administration proposed a 29 percent cut in food stamps on Monday, to be achieved by requiring more recipients to work at least 20 hours a week and by providing some benefits in the form of a box of food instead of letting people buy food themselves at grocery stores. The White House also asked Congress for stricter rules for access to free meals for low-income children at public schools.
Three weeks after President Trump boasted of protecting crop insurance in the 2018 farm bill, the White House proposed a 31 percent cut in the federally subsidized program on Monday. The cuts, part of the administration's budget package for fiscal 2021, were proposed — and rejected by lawmakers — in previous years.
The Trump administration would oust 1 in every 12 SNAP recipients, a total of 3.1 million people, under a plan released today to restrict access to food stamps through so-called categorical eligibility. “Some states are taking advantage of a loophole” to load SNAP rolls, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.
The U.S. House opened debate on a mammoth federal spending bill, including money for the USDA, on Tuesday under the threat of a presidential veto of the $322 billion bill. The White House said it opposed half a dozen USDA provisions in the bill, including language that would preclude relocating two research agencies to Kansas City and implementing a new inspection system for hog-slaughter plants.
U.S. farmers and ranchers face a host of problems that could be solved or greatly curtailed by scientific innovation. But the federal government has largely abandoned its role as a leading funder of agricultural research and development, writes Alan Leshner, CEO emeritus of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in The Hill.
In budget proposals in 2017 and 2018, President Trump tried to slash funding for SNAP by about $200 billion over 10 years — roughly one-fourth of its total funding. Now, with Trump close to unveiling his fiscal 2020 budget package, the “hunger community” is concerned about a renewed call for massive cuts.
The Food for Peace program, created during the Cold War to relieve hunger overseas through the donation of U.S.-produced food, would be mothballed by the Trump administration in its fiscal 2019 budget. In its place, the State Department would provide emergency food aid through a smaller-ticket disaster assistance office that is expected to be thriftier and fleeter of foot.
The budget agreement written by Senate leaders includes more than $1 billion for dairy supports as well as larger subsidies for cotton growers. Besides providing immediate assistance to producers, the provisions would mean that farm-state lawmakers can spend more money on cotton and dairy in the 2018 farm bill than is available now.
Producers enrolled a record 311.5 million acres in the federal crop insurance program in 2017, topping the previous mark of 295.9 million acres in 2015, says USDA data. The taxpayer-subsidized program, the largest federal support for growers, is expected to be a target for reformers during debate on the 2018 farm bill.
Reviving a White House budget theme, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said Americans do not believe food stamps should be “a permanent lifestyle” for able-bodied adults without dependents.
The $1.5 trillion tax-cut package unveiled by House Republicans would eliminate the estate tax – the most-hated tax in agriculture – in 2023, while allowing larger deductions for purchases of equipment, according to the Ways and Means Committee. Farm groups were muted in their comments as they assessed the 429-page bill.