FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Agriculture Appropriations Bill Update
Today, the House is debating the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill, which appropriates funds for the Department of Agriculture and similar agencies. The committee-passed bill provides a spending level of $17.25 billion, which is $2.7 billion less than FY 2011 appropriations.
While $2.7 billion is a good start -enough to invoke the most vile class warfare from Democrats – there is still more to cut. This is part of a growing pattern with all of the appropriations bills. The Republican-led committees have offered some solid cuts around the edges, but fail to strike deeper, more consequential cuts. Keep in mind that while these cuts might appear significant, when compared against the profligate baseline of recent budgeting, they will not reverse the tide of the debt insolvency that awaits us. That’s one job that Obama’s ATM will not execute successfully. To that end, the RSC is offering an amendment today which would cut an additional $1.8 billion from the USDA.
It is also important to remember that our consummate political battle is not only about a budget figure or crushing debt; it is about unconstitutional and officious government. We need to eliminate every government program we can, even if the percentage in savings is relatively small. Most of these agencies oversee programs that create dependency schemes and Democrat rent-seekers in government, and as such, serve no public interest. 19% of all federal subsidies and welfare programs are under the auspices of the USDA, most of which lack constitutional authority.
The RSC proposal would cut roughly $780 million from duplicate agricultural research projects by combining several agencies. We all know that these bureaucrats think they are doing yeoman’s work, but I’m sure they can dazzle the private sector with their talents.
The amendment would also cut an additional $1 billion from the “Food for Peace” program, which offers economic aid to many countries that don’t represent our best interests. Yes, the Israelis have a land for peace program, while we have a food for peace program. It’s enough that we have multiple foreign aid programs run by the State Department, we don’t need the USDA getting involved in the foreign food stamps business. The White House is asserting that the cuts will cause global poverty. He fails to mention that it is actually his policies related to energy and the weakening of the dollar that are causing global hunger.
There are also several other amendments pending a vote that will offer more specific cuts, much to the consternation of the “College of Cardinals” at the Appropriations Committee. These votes, scheduled for later this afternoon, will offer another opportunity for those who desire to distinguish themselves from the status quo in Congress. Let them know that we are watching.