Farm Bill Is a Missed Opportunity

Jun 28, 2018 | Other Spending

For Immediate Release

Today, the Senate passed the Agriculture Improvement Act (Farm Bill), which would extend a variety of farm subsidy and nutrition programs for five years. Both the Senate bill and the House-passed bill would make some modifications to farm programs – the House bill much more so – though neither would reduce overall spending on agriculture. The following is a statement from Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

If there is one thing economists from both sides can agree on, it’s that there are savings to be found in farm programs. That the Agriculture Committees cannot identify a few billion dollars of deficit reduction is beyond ridiculous.

Spending on farm bill programs will cost $870 billion over the next decade. The Senate bill would save about $100 million just .02 percent of the total; the House bill would save $7 million -- just .001 percent. With trillion-dollar deficits approaching, that’s a dangerous precedent.

President Obama’s final budget proposed $13 billion of agriculture savings. President Trump’s most recent budget proposed $23 billion – plus another $70 billion of deficit reduction from SNAP (food stamps). And the House budget resolution that passed out of committee calls for significant savings from agriculture programs and especially SNAP.

Lawmakers should be working in a bipartisan fashion to find the revenue and spending cuts needed to address our unsustainable and rapidly rising debt. The farm bill should not get an exemption. We hope conferees work together to develop a bill that includes significant net deficit reduction, rather than continuing to spend beyond our means.

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For more information contact Patrick Newton, press secretary, at newton@crfb.org.