WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Committee on Agriculture Chairman Bob Goodlatte today released an outline of the contents of the budget reconciliation package the Committee plans to mark-up Friday morning. The total package includes $3.7 billion in savings, a 23 percent increase over the $3 billion required in the reconciliation instructions from the Budget Resolution. “The Committee is committed to a fiscally responsible reconciliation package to offset the increased spending due to recent hurricanes and other natural disasters and increased national security and defense spending,” said Chairman Goodlatte.
The reductions include $662 million in 2006 and an overall reduction of $3.7 billion for FY06-10. The detailed breakdown of the reduction proposal is included as an attachment to this release. Below is a brief breakdown of the reductions in programs within the Committee’s jurisdiction.
The total reduction in commodity programs including direct payments and the elimination of the Step 2 cotton program is $1.03 billion over five years. Conservation programs account for $734 million in savings, while energy programs account for $23 million in savings. Rural development program funding reductions account for $446 million over five years. Research programs contribute $620 million to the total reduction package. Despite the fact that the Committee authorized and funded all of the rural development, energy and research programs that are contributing to the savings, in each of the last three years, the appropriations process has prevented these programs from being implemented by removing the mandatory spending used to fund these programs.
Finally, the proposed reductions for the food stamp program account for less than a half of a percent of the total food stamp budget or $844 million over five years. This accounts for a reduction of about a half of a penny for every dollar spent on the food stamp program. While food stamps comprise nearly 60 percent of the Committee’s mandatory spending, it receives less than 25 percent of the total savings under the package and only applies to non-citizens and those who are not Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) qualified (a proposal that was included in the President’s budget). By tightening the eligibility requirements, this legislation ensures that the nations most needy will continue to receive the federal assistance.
The Committee is scheduled to consider this proposal pursuant to H.Con.Res.95 tomorrow (Friday) morning at 9:30 a.m. in 1300 Longworth House Office Building. Live Audio will be available at the start of Committee hearings.