Thursday, June 2, 2011

House Appropriations Committee Cuts USDA Farm Subsidies and Conservation Funding

In a surprise move, the full House Appropriations Committee voted during a lengthy Tuesday (May 31) mark-up session to cut farm subsidies to help reduce the Federal budget deficit and to help pay for other budget items in the bill. The marathon session featured 12 approved amendments, including an unanticipated vote to cut off crop subsidies to growers with more than $250,000 a year in adjusted gross income.  Here is the Committee's press release concerning the approved bill, along with its full text  (pdf file) and an accompanying committee report (also a pdf file).

The bill also made significant cuts to mandatory spending for conservation programs, including a cut of $171 million to the Conservation Stewardship Program, $350 million to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, and reductions in eligible acreage for sign up to the Wetlands Reserve Program and Grasslands Reserve Program by 64,200 acres and 96,000 acres, respectively.

Another amendment adopted by the Committee would restore $147 million to the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food assistance program, which had otherwise been cut by $832 million, or 12 percent in the Appropriations subcommittee-approved bill.

The Committee's press release describes each of the twelve adopted amendments. 

The $17.25 billion USDA and FDA funding bill will now go to the full House for a vote.

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