Sustainable Agriculture News March 1st, 2013

Congressional News from the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) March 1st, 1013 Sequester and Beyond – What it Means for Food and Agriculture Yesterday, the Senate voted 51-49 on the Mikulski-Murray-Reid bill to replace the across-the-board automatic budget cuts (sequestration) of $85 billion for the current year, and reduce the deficit by $110 billion.  The measure failed because under Senate filibuster rules, a simple majority is not sufficient and a 60-vote super majority is needed to pass most bills.  Read more... Farm Bills from Last Year Save Less Money Now The Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the official scorekeeper for the funding implications of all legislation, today released a new projection of what the Senate-passed and House Agriculture Committee-passed farm bills from 2012 would cost if they were to be enacted, without changes, in 2013.  According to CBO, the Senate farm bill from last year, if re-enacted this year, would save a total of $13.1 billion, while the House Agriculture Committee bill from last year, if re-enacted, would save a total of $26.6 billion.  The CBO estimates for last year were $23.1 billion and $35.1 billion, respectively. Read more... Senate Prepares to Debate New Farm Bill Proposal in Context of Sequestration Bill Late Wednesday, Senate Republicans coalesced around the package they will offer on the Senate floor on Thursday.  Their plan would leave the $85 billion in total budget cuts in place, but instead of requiring across-the-board cuts via the sequester, they propose to give President Obama until March 15 to design a plan that exempts some budget accounts from cuts while doubling down on others.  Both houses of Congress could vote to override the President’s plan under the GOP proposal, but to do so would require a two-thirds vote.  Unlike the Democratic plan, the GOP plan would not address the Farm Bill.  Read more...

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