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February 11, 2016

Budget Proposal Mixed For Agriculture

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The President’s proposed budget provides a mixed bag for agriculture. Micheal Clements has more.
Clements: The President’s 2017 budget proposal includes $24.6 billion for agriculture, down $1.1 billion from the current budget. Included in the budget, the administration proposes an $18 billion cut to the federal crop insurance programs over 10 years. American Farm Bureau’s RJ Karney says proposed crop insurance cuts are a staple of the President’s budget proposals.
Karney: This is something the administration, we have seen proposed in all of their budgets, and also is a repeat of a fight we just had two to three months ago during the omnibus package.
Clements: Farm Bureau and others in agriculture fought to reverse a $3 billion cut late last year. The proposal also increases the capital gains tax from 20 percent to 28 percent, a move opposed by Farm Bureau. On a positive note, he says the proposal includes a funding increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
Karney: The President’s proposal nearly doubles the currently enacted level and raises the budget line up to $700 million dollars. This is important because it really does signal the restoration of food and agriculture research as a priority for our nation to meet 21st century challenges.
Clements: House and Senate budget leaders already declared the proposal dead on arrival; however, Karney says the proposal still sets the budget foundation for Congress.
Karney: This will not put a nail in the coffin in the budgetary process. Both the House and Senate are looking to write and complete a budget resolution and the appropriation committees have already issued a schedule for the appropriations process, so AFBF will now be turning its attention towards Congress so we can make sure that American agriculture is represented in the budget discussions and also through the appropriations process.
Clements: He says lawmakers hope to finish the budget process prior to the national party conventions in July. Micheal Clements, Washington.

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