The Hagstrom Report

Agriculture News As It Happens

Big budget developments Tuesday

Tuesday is turning into a big budget day in Washington, with implications for agriculture and beyond.

With a Friday deadline to pass a bill to fund the government or face a shutdown, President Obama has invited key congressional leaders to come to the White House late Tuesday afternoon for a meeting, CBS News reported late today.

Obama has invited Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Ky., CBS said.

Meanwhile, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is scheduled to unveil his large-scale fiscal year 2012 budget proposal at a Capitol Hill news conference in the morning and a speech to the American Enterprise Institute at lunch time. Ryan is expected to focus on Medicare and Medicaid, but could include long-term agriculture cuts as well.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition today launched a last-minute campaign to try to stop further cuts in the USDA conservation budget for the fiscal year 2011.

Noting that Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., the third highest ranking Democrat in the Senate, had said on Sunday that Democrats are urging Republicans to reduce some automatic spending at Agriculture and other departments, NSAC said the only USDA programs on the table are conservation and environmental programs.

The group, which represents smaller, environmentally-minded farmers, urged its members to ask Schumer “to push back on any budget deal that ties our hands going into the 2012 Farm Bill debate. Budget cuts to essential conservation programs today will limit their funding for years to come. Farm bill spending decisions should be made by the Agriculture Committee, not by the Appropriations Committee.”

The group said direct payments should also be on the table.