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Peterson, Lucas comment on House budget resolution

Following House passage of the Republican budget resolution today, House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., said he believes the budget and reconciliation instructions will make it difficult to pass a farm bill this year.

However, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., noted Wednesday that the budget resolution will not have the force of law unless it also passed by the Senate, which is unlikely.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn.
Peterson noted that the budget cuts $179.4 billion from Agriculture committee programs over 10 years and includes reconciliation instructions which require the committee to provide legislation cutting agriculture spending by $33.2 billion by April 27. Peterson voted against the resolution.

“Passing a farm bill this year was already going to be difficult, but the Republican budget approved by the House today lowers the odds significantly,” Peterson said.

“Going through the reconciliation process before we can actually get to writing a farm bill will only muddy the waters and is a waste of time,” Peterson said.

“The only reason we’re doing this is so the Republican majority could pass their budget, which we all know is going nowhere in the Senate,” he said

“I have a hard time seeing how the House can pass a farm bill after going through this process. I also don’t see how we could extend the current bill without making some of the cuts called for by the majority. The Agriculture Committee has a strong history of bipartisanship and I am willing to see if that can be continued, but today’s vote is not helpful.”

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.

Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Okla.
In an interview aired Wednesday on AgriTalk, a rural radio network, Lucas said he would vote for the budget resolution “because I think it gives us enough flexibility in crafting the next farm bill to do what we need to do.”

“But don’t expect either one of those items to have the force of law, they’re guidelines,” he said. “Because the Senate won’t do the part they have to do to make it the force of law.”

Lucas also said he believes that when it comes time to write the farm bill ,the cut in the budget over 10 years will be in the range of $30 billion. The bill that the agriculture leaders sent to the failed supercommittee on deficit reduction would have cut farm spending by $23 billion over 10 years, and it is believed that the Senate Agriculture Committee is using that number in writing its version of the next farm bill.