Republicans in the U.S. House are moving to cut spending and show they are deficit hawks, but the process could damage future work on the 2012 Farm Bill, at least that's the sentiment expressed by Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
The House move to cut $35.8 billion from nutrition programs under Ag Committee jurisdiction was a contentious move and Peterson voted against it. However, in his response to the measure, he issued a statement: " Everything must be on the table if we are going to have a serious conversation about getting our budget under control. Refusing to consider large budget items like defense and choosing instead to slash nutrition programs that feed millions of hard-working families is not the way to balance our budget. Since we know this isn't going anywhere the only thing that will likely come out of this vote is an even more divided Congress."
He also notes that the farm bill is expiring in the fall and "while the Agriculture Committee has a strong history of bipartisanship I worry that if we continue down this partisan path it will be far more difficult to pass a farm bill this year."
The House move appears to be an effort to unwind a deficit deal made last fall where forced cuts would go into effect if a bipartisan group of lawmakers couldn't make a deal. The deal collapsed, forced spending cuts are pending and this is an early salvo to head off those cuts.
There's a sense that the Senate won't allow this level of cutting to domestic programs, but the move shows that Congress is struggling to make cuts to bring spending under control.