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Republicans, Democrats uniting against administration budget

Corn rises out a field in front of a row of grain bins near Clarksdale, Miss., in May 2017
Corn rises out a field in front of a row of grain bins near Clarksdale, Miss., in May 2017
Few things have brought the two parties together in recent years, but administration budget might.

The Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget appears to be accomplishing something few other developments have done in Washington in recent memory – Uniting Republicans and Democrats in a common task.

That task is to see that the budget proposal, apparently developed by the White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mike Mulvaney with little to no input from federal agencies such as USDA, never makes it into law.

“It takes something really bad to unite Republicans and Democrats in Washington, D. C., and this plan has generated opposition from both parties,” said David Senter, national president of the American Agriculture Movement.  “If adopted, these cuts would destroy farm programs, leave Rural America in ruins and undo years of conservation efforts.”

Senter said the administration budget reminds him and other observers of the one David Stockman, OMB director under President Reagan, sent to Congress in the early 1980s. “The good thing is, it’s not going to be adopted, but it does run the risk of cuts that will adversely hurt producers and rural communities.”

AAM, which was founded in response to the depression that occurred in the rural economy in the mid-1980s, does not support taxpayer subsidies for farm programs. Its members favor price support loans set at the full cost of production and paid back plus interest when the commodity is sold.

“Therefore, the buyer pays the price in the marketplace,” he said. “The problem with this (current) budget is the farm policy has to be changed before the dollars are cut off. This is getting the cart before the horse and would be eliminating farm programs by starving them of funding thus putting producers out of business in the process.”

The Trump proposal would cut $38 Billion from farm programs over 10 years; cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or food stamps by $193 Billion; limit CRP to continuous signup plus grassland; and eliminate the McGovern-Dole school feeding program and Food for Peace, renewable energy and Biomass Crop Assistance programs.

It would also make major cuts to rural development, including water and sewer grants to rural towns plus the elimination of rural housing programs and the loss of thousands of USDA employees that provide daily service to the farmers and ranchers of America, he noted.

“The American Agriculture Movement may be opposed to the current budget proposal but this opposition does not stop there,” said Jim Rice, secretary/treasurer of AAM. “AAM is prepared to offer alternatives and solutions.

“Since its inception, AAM has maintained farm income should come from the market place and not in the form of government subsidies from taxpayer pockets. AAM stands ready to work with Congress and this administration in designing programs that provide our farmers and ranchers their income from the market place. Hopefully, we can all work together to this successful end so we can bring back stability and profitability to our farm and ranch communities.”

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