The House Agriculture Committee passed its budget reconciliation package Friday with $3.7 billion in cuts, 23% more than outlined in the instructions from the Budget Resolution. Several differences now exist between the House and Senate Agriculture committee versions of how to reduce mandatory agriculture expenditures.
The Senate Agriculture Committee approved $3 billion in mandatory agriculture cuts and kept alive a dairy income support program with its budget package several weeks ago. The Milk Income Loss Contract program wasn't included in the House version.
The House approved $662 million in cuts for Fiscal Year 2006. The rest of the $3.1 billion will come in fiscal years 2007-2010.
The House's total reduction in commodity programs including direct payments and the elimination of the Step 2 cotton program is $1.007 billion over five years. Conservation programs account for $760 million in savings. Rural development program funding reductions account for $446 million over five years, while energy programs account for $23 million in savings. 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.
The Conservation Security Program did not contain any cuts for FY2006, but the program will be scaled back $478 million from its original projections for 2007-2010.
The committee deliberations over the proposed cuts in the food stamp program were particularly contentious, as $844 million will be cut for FY2006-2010. On the Senate side, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss was able to preserve all food stamp funding.
The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the entire budget bill next week.