Automatic budget cuts, should Congress or its deficit reduction Super Committee fail to agree on a plan, would kill Ag Committee proposals to help shape Farm Bill cuts. Super Committee members are reportedly stuck on the same issue that has plagued Republicans and Democrats for months, whether and how much to raise taxes and cut entitlements.
The failure of either the Super Committee to agree on a plan by Nov. 23 or Congress to pass one a month later would trigger across-the-board cuts, known as sequestration. National Pork Producers Council Assistant Vice President of Government Relations Chris Wall says that would nix any proposal the leaders of the Ag Committees are able to reach in the coming days on the next Farm Bill.
"I would say it would negate what's been put forward so far," Wall said. "With OMB having the controls over the sequestration process as to coming up with the cuts, based on what this administration has put forth previously, the cuts would come from different places than what the House and Senate Ag Committees have proposed."
The Ag Committees have proposed $23 billion in cuts over 10 years from Title commodity, conservation, research and nutrition programs and possibly others. According to Wall all of their efforts would be replaced with across-the-board cuts that ag would have no say in crafting.
"It's much better for folks to get into a room and come up with cuts where you can trim some of the fat, take out some of the admin costs, take out some duplicative programs and programs that people don't use anymore, rather than hurting programs that are very viable," Wall said.
Among those programs are agricultural research and popular conservation programs like EQIP.
Wall says the Ag Committees are very close to agreement on their joint proposal, and likely to submit it to the Super Committee on or just after their self-imposed deadline of Nov. 1. But things have not gone well for the Super Committee.
"Democrats don't want to cut entitlement spending unless revenue raisers are on the table," Wall said. "Republicans have said that tax increases will never be on the table."
Wall and others feel lawmakers will never let sequestration happen; that they would more likely make the cuts they can politically, about $800 billion, and punt the rest into next year.