The House and Senate Agriculture committees made difficult choices to contribute to bipartisan deficit reduction goals when they crafted the farm bill just two years ago, and any calls for additional cuts to the programs they administer should be rejected, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
In a letter March 9, AFBF and 254 other groups called on congressional Budget and Appropriations leaders to oppose additional cuts that would further reduce spending for programs such as conservation, nutrition assistance and the nation's farm safety net.
According to the letter, any cuts would be in addition to the $16 billion contribution already made toward 10-year deficit reduction goals by reform of and cuts to the bipartisan farm bill passed by Congress just two years ago.
"These difficult cuts resulted from hard choices made to reform and reduce the farm safety net, conservation programs and nutrition assistance programs," the letter stated. "Some of the reforms made in the new farm bill are still being implemented."
In addition to asking Budget and Appropriations leaders to oppose any additional cuts for the Agriculture Committees in the FY 2017 appropriations process, the groups also asked to oppose any proposals to re-open any title of the farm bill during the consideration of the 2017 Budget Resolution. The groups also requested that neither the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry nor the House Committee on Agriculture be subject to reconciliation instructions.
"The Congressional Budget Office projects that mandatory farm bill spending will decline over the next five years, while mandatoryÃ½ federal spending outside the Agriculture committees' jurisdiction will rise over the same time period," the letter stated. "These committees have already done the hard work to make the difficult choices necessary to deliver bipartisan cuts, which the farm and food community have accepted in securing agriculture's contribution to the goal of federal deficit reduction."