Ag Committee Budget Request Calls for Supporting Current Farm Policies

Mar 12, 2009

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – Today, the House Committee on Agriculture forwarded its budget request to the House Budget Committee in preparation of the Fiscal Year 2010 Budget Resolution. Below is the text of Ranking Member Frank Lucas’ opening statement during the meeting.

“As you know our business meeting today is an annual exercise where we as a committee submit to the Budget Committee a letter with our views and estimates for the fiscal year 2010 budget cycle.

“I am pleased that Chairman Peterson has taken a careful look at the current state of agriculture in the United States. This sentiment is reflected in the letter to the Budget Committee, which calls for maintaining the compromises of the 2008 Farm Bill and rejecting the ill-conceived budget proposal from the President.

“There are some ridiculous measures in that proposal, which highlights how much this Administration is out of touch with production agriculture. The most prominent example is the proposal to cut direct payments to our full-time producers in an effort to save money. It’s not saving money. It’s simply moving money around. The proposal plans to cut $10 billion over 10 years from direct payments only to turn around and spend $10 billion in the same department.

“This committee just spent nearly two years creating a fiscally responsible Farm Bill. We created important reforms that addressed the concern of support to farmers that was believed by many to be excessive. Those reforms have not even had a chance to be properly implemented. Now the Administration is trying to undo all that work and is doing so in such a way that has been rejected in the past. At a time when our country is facing an economic crisis and commodity prices are plunging, it is important that we do the best we can to provide our farmers and ranchers with the safety net they need to continue to produce the safest, most abundant food supply in the world.

“Finally, we shouldn’t have a $3.6 trillion federal budget. Instead of singling out farmers for symbolic, unworkable budget cuts that mask huge spending increases, this Administration should be presenting a truly responsible budget that can begin to put our fiscal house in order.”