Ag Appropriations Bill Questioned by Administration, Ag Committee

Peterson says bill assaults the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee.

Published on: Jun 14, 2011

According to the Obama Administration, the Agriculture Appropriations measure the House is slated to vote on this week provides insufficient funding for a number of programs in a way that undermines core government functions and investments key to economic growth and job creation. In a statement released Monday, the administration notes that the Food and Nutrition Service, food safety, the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, research, the Food and Drug Administration, Commodity Futures Trading Commission and international food aid will all be adversely affected by the bill.

The statement goes on to note problematic policy and language issues, including the provision that would eliminate payments that are being made as part of the mutually agreed settlement of a World Trade Organization dispute regarding U.S. domestic cotton supports and the export credit guarantee program

House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., sent a letter to the House Committee on Rules Monday afternoon urging Chairman David Dreier, R-Calif., to allow Agriculture Committee members to strike provisions of the agriculture appropriations measure that would re-write the 2008 Farm Bill.

Peterson wrote that the spending bill contains unprecedented assaults on the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee and added that the results of amendments to the 2008 Farm Bill adopted by the Appropriations Committee could be detrimental to current farm safety net programs.

"Any policy differences between members regarding the structure of farm safety net programs should be discussed during the process of drafting the 2012 Farm Bill," Peterson said. "There are large reductions in many of the programs funded through the 2008 Farm Bill, which will leave farmers and ranchers without the tools they need to meet regulatory requirements."

Peterson emphasizes the authorizing committee, not appropriators, should make the decisions on how much mandatory spending should be allocated to programs benefitting farmers, rural communities, researchers and others. He says agriculture shoulders a disproportionate share of cuts and though he understands budget constraints he fears the government could lose more money if appropriators continue taking away from the farm safety net.