Senate Ag Committee Passes Budget Reconciliation

Measure squeaks by with 11 to 9 votes to cut mandatory spending by $3 billion and extends MILC. Compiled by staff



Published on: Oct 19, 2005

Wednesday the Senate Agriculture Committee approved $3 billion in mandatory agriculture cuts and kept alive a dairy income support program.

On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss didn't know if he had the votes to keep the Milk Income Loss Contract program from being slashed in the markup stage held Wednesday morning. Many senators questioned whether the $1 billion two-year extension for the program was more important than other commodities.

The 11 to 9 vote from Wednesday shows he had enough support to keep President Bush's promise to extend funding for MILC.

Here is a summary of what the committee will now send to the Senate floor for a vote:

  • Reduce by 2.5% all payments that producers receive for the 2006 through 2010 crop years for the following commodities: wheat, corn, grain sorghum, barley, oats, upland cotton, extra long staple cotton, rice, soybeans, other oilseeds, wool, mohair, honey, dry peas, lentils, small chickpeas, unshorn pelts, silage, hay and peanuts.
  • Extend MILC until September 30, 2007. The payment factor will be reduced from 45% to 34%.
  • Eliminate the upland cotton Step 2 program as of August 1, 2006.
  • Reduce the amount a producer may receive in an advance direct payment from a maximum of 50% to 40% for the 2006 crop year and to 29% for each of the 2007 through 2011 crop years.
  • Cap Conservation Reserve Program acres from 39.2 million acres to 36.4 million acres through calendar year 2010. In 2011, the acreage cap will increase to 38.3 million acres.
  • Limit Conservation Security Program expenditures to $1.954 billion for fiscal years 2006 through 2010 and will increase the expenditure cap to $5.2 billion for fiscal years 2006 through 2015.
  • Restrict spending on EQIP to $1.185 billion in fiscal year 2006 and $1.270 billion in each of fiscal years 2007 through 2010. It will restore funding to $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011.

The Senate Agriculture Committee has put together an overview of year-by-year cuts for each proposed reduction. You can view this PDF by clicking on Year-by-Year Cuts for Specific Agriculture Programs.

The President's proposed payment limitations were not included in the markup Chambliss presented to the committee. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says he intended to introduce a payment limitation amendment when the Senate votes on the measure. Payment caps are estimated to provide $1.2 billion in savings over the next five years.