HOUSE AG COMMITTEE BUDGET CUTS SPENDING
The House Agriculture Committee approved its portion of the fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation package that will be included as part of the House cuts in mandatory spending and the tax plan.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The House Agriculture Committee approved its portion of the fiscal year 2006 budget reconciliation package that will be included as part of the House cuts in mandatory spending and the tax plan.
The House Agriculture Committee passed the measure by a 24-20 vote that included $844 million in food and nutrition program cuts, $760 million in conservation programs cuts, $620 million in cuts for research programs, $446 million in cuts for rural development and a little over $1 billion in commodity program cuts for a total of $3.7 billion.
Direct payments to farmers will be reduced by 1 percent for the crop years 2006-2009. Advance payments also will be reduced from 50 percent to 40 percent for the 2006-2007 crop years. The Step-2 program for cotton was eliminated as well.
The House Budget Committee is expected to assemble the complete package for a vote next week by the entire House. It is unknown yet whether the House leadership will allow amendments such as payment limits.
The Senate Agriculture Committee voted out its version of the fiscal year 2006 reconciliation package earlier last month. It includes more than $1 billion dollars in cuts for commodity programs, and a cut of $1.8 billion for conservation programs. No cuts were made to food and nutrition programs. The Senate will be voting on the reconciliation package this week.
Since it is protected from filibuster, the Senate will have 20 hours of debate that starts Monday and will probably be finished on Thursday. All amendments also will be voted on Thursday and are expected to include several payment-limit amendments by Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa. In the past, the Senate has supported further payment limits for farmers.
The House also approved the conference report for the fiscal year 2006 Agriculture Appropriations by a vote of 318-63. The legislation once again contained language that postponed mandatory country of origin labeling until 2008 except for seafood.
The bill also contained $17 million for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to monitor bovine spongiform encephalopathy or BSE and $30 million to the Food and Drug Administration to research BSE prevention methods. The Senate was expected to approve the legislation this week.
Alabama agriculture research projects supported by the Alabama Farmers Federation that were contained in the bill include the following: Alabama Beef Connection, $400,000 in fiscal year 2005, $850,000 in 2006; Tri-State Peanut Research, $567,000 in fiscal '05, $591,000 in fiscal '06; Horn Fly Vaccine Research, $167,000 in '05, $200,000 in '06; Precision Agriculture-Forestry, $604,000 in '05, $599,000 in '06; Catfish Genome Research, $812,000 in '05, $887,000 in '06; Catfish Disease Vaccine Research, $1,072,000 in '05, $1,073,000 in '06; National Soil Dynamics Lab, $992,000 in '05, $1,120,000 in '06; and Crop Improvement Practices, $1,400,000 in '05, $1,400,000 in '06.