Peterson Calls Budget Committee Proposal 'Meaningless'

Ag committee ranking member says budget committee gets way more press attention than its proposals deserve.

Published on: Apr 18, 2012

Collin Peterson, ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, was blunt in his criticism for both the House Budget Committee and the media attention its farm proposals have received.

Speaking to the North American Agricultural Journalists on Tuesday, Peterson, R-Minn., said that today's reconciliation vote on the budget committee proposals for agriculture program cuts "doesn't mean anything at all."

He said the press in general has focused way too much on the budget committee.

Peterson Calls Budget Committee Proposal Meaningless
Peterson Calls Budget Committee Proposal 'Meaningless'

"They report on as though it were relevant," he said. "It isn't. The budget committee can't do anything. It has no power. It has become a totally partisan deal and one of the best things we could is abolish it."

The committee has become a big part of the problem in Washington, and not even a small part of the solution, he said.

"The only possible impact it could have is with reconciliation," he said. "And that is really meaningless if it has no impact in the Senate. And this exercise won't have an impact.  It's all about show."

He said Democrats on the committee will not put up a fight, even though they will protest deep cuts to food stamps, because "this just isn't worth fighting about. Whatever passes has no meaning, so why waste time fighting about something that isn't going to happen anyway?"

Republicans are pushing for $34 billion in Farm Bill cuts, a goal that cannot be achieved with huge whacks to nutrition programs in addition to big cuts in every title from conservation to research.

Peterson said the serious fight will come when the Farm Bill, or the Food, Farm and Jobs Act, as Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack insists it be called, actually comes up for debate.

"There will be a fight when we get to the real deal," he said. "It just isn't going to happen on the budget reconciliation. That isn't real and just don't give it any credibility."