House 2013 Budget Proposal and Farmers

National Farmers Union Press Release on House 2013 Budget Proposal

Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., of the House Budget Committee released the House of Representatives Republican plan for the Fiscal Year 2013 budget. The proposal would cut an additional $5.3 trillion in cuts over the next decade as compared to President Obama’s budget, which was released in February.

Farm Bill programs – including safety net, conservation, and nutrition programs – were targeted for a total of about $155 billion in cuts. This is a far deeper reduction than the bipartisan agreement of $23 billion reached by the agriculture committees during the Super Committee process.

The Ryan plan includes a proposal to cut $33.2 billion from farm safety net programs, which would severely constrain the ability of the next farm bill to provide policy that protects against yield losses and when markets collapse. In addition, the proposal would require several areas, including agriculture and health care, to make immediate cuts through reconciliation so that defense spending levels would not be reduced through the automatic “sequestration” cuts scheduled to go into effect in January 2013 as a result of the Super Committee’s failure to come to agreement last fall.

The proposal would restructure SNAP into a block grant in 2016 “after employment has recovered.” NFU policy opposes the shifting of federal nutrition programs to state block grants. Last year’s House budget proposal included a similar proposal for SNAP that was estimated to cut SNAP by 20 percent, or $127 billion over 10 years. However, the new 2013 budget proposal does not provide a specific budget savings number from SNAP. The resolution also proposes to make SNAP benefits contingent on work or job training, suggesting reform around work requirements, employment and training funds, and time limits.

The budget proposal would also shift Medicaid to a block grant program, and would provide seniors with a government payment to buy health insurance from either a qualified private plan or from Medicare. The proposal also completely repeals the two-year-old health care law, the Affordable Care Act. NFU policy opposes both Medicaid block grants and cutting funding from Medicare, and strongly supports implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

While the proposal was passed later this week by the House Budget Committee and is expected to pass the House without much difficulty, it is highly unlikely that the Senate will adopt this proposal. Negotiations will continue between Congress and the White House for the foreseeable future.

NFU’s statement on the FY 2012 House Budget proposal can be found here.

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