Farm Bill: Budget – Supercommittee Concerns

In an update posted yesterdayat the Oklahoma Farm Report Online reported that, The top Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee,Collin Peterson of Minnesota, denies he and House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas have been communicating during the August recess about the possible budget cuts to be demanded by the so called Super Committee. Peterson says he does not think the Republicans know what to do on budget cutting- so have done nothing to this point.

The former Chairman believes that the Super Committee is a dumb idea but unfortunately is the law-he does not believe the Super Committee will be able to come to a deal that everyone can live with-which will result in sequestration- or across the board cuts on many programs within the federal budget.

Peterson contends that only agriculture has already made deficit reduction- and so he is reluctant to offer any further cuts to the Super Committee.

Yesterdays update noted that, He [Peterson] also says it will not surprise him if the time frame for the writing of the 2012 farm bill is pushed up to the latter part of this year or very early in 2012, because of the budgetary moves that came out of the debt ceiling/deficit reduction battle in early August.

Peterson made these comments in an interview with Farm Broadcast colleague Don Wick of the Red River Radio Network .

More generally on the budget issue, Robert Barron reported earlier this week at the Enid News and Eagle (Oklahoma) Online that, U.S. Rep.Frank Lucas, R-Okla., told the crowd at his town hall meeting [in Enid] the government is out of money and deep cuts are coming.

Normally after Labor Day, Congress reconvenes and completes appropriations bills. This year there will be a series of short-term funding bills until the new super committee, set up by the budget agreement between Congress and President Barack Obama, begins work and makes recommendations.

In the last three years we got a 40 percent increase in the deficit, Lucas said, criticizing the spending of the Obama administration.

The article added that, Lucas is working on writing a new five-year farm bill this year, and there will be less money to spend. He said of the 46members of the House Agriculture Committee, 23 are new to the committee and 16 are new to Congress.

In other budget related news, Manu Raju reported yesterday at Politico that, Conservative activists cheered the appointment of Sen.Pat Toomey(R-Pa.) to the powerful new deficit-reduction supercommittee, believing that theres no way a former head of the right-wing Club for Growth would sell them out on taxes.

But the freshman Republican hardly sounds like some of his bomb-throwing colleagues these days, and in appearances across his home state during the August congressional recess,he sounds willing to make tax reform part of any deficit reduction package.

Yesterdays article pointed out that, Toomeys toned down rhetoric on the road in Pennsylvania has some Democrats hoping he’ll be a serious negotiator on the supercommittee rather than just a no vote.

And Lori Montgomeryreported in todays Washington Post that, Two painful rounds of cost-cuttingon Capitol Hill and higher-than-expected tax collections will push this years budget deficit down by $300 billion and slice nearly $1.5 trillion from deficits over the next decade, according to new White House projections.

But the report says that the national debt, which stands at $14.6 trillion, would still continue to climb if a budget proposed by President Obama in February were enacted. The debt would rise to $24 trillion by 2021 or 99 percent of the nations entire annual economic output.

The Post article indicated that, The summer budget update, known as the mid-session review, predicts that this years deficit will be just over $1.3 trillion. The forecast was based on economic projections through the end of June. Since then, the economy has deteriorated markedly, prompting administration officials to take the unusual step of offering an alternative forecast updated through August.

In a statement from yesterdayregarding the latest budget projections, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad(D-ND) indicated that: OMBs report shows that we still have a lot of work to do to put our nations fiscal house in order.The new special committee needs to reach agreement on a bold, bipartisan, and balanced deficit reduction plan that includes both spending reductions and new revenue. It is my hope the committee exceeds its $1.5 trillion target. In order to stabilize the federal debt and begin to bring it down as a share of the economy,we need to achieve roughly $4 trillion in total deficit reduction over the next 10 years.

It is also critical that the special committee considers measures to address the near-term struggling economy. Putting policies in place now to create jobs and strengthen the economy is essential.We can spur the near-term economy and reduce long-term deficits at the same time.

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