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Lawmakers Are Talking Budget

Lawmakers Are Talking Budget

Raising the debt ceiling will depend on budget and spending cuts.

On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, demanded that President Obama reduce spending by more than $2 trillion in exchange for an increase in the debt limit big enough to cover the nation's bills through the end of next year.

Speaking to the Economic Club of New York, Boehner firmly rejected any effort to raise taxes, and he promised that without significant spending cuts and changes in the way the government spends the American people's money, there will be no increase in the debt limit.  He also said the cuts should be greater than the accompanying increase in the debt limit that the president is given.

Boehner aides have declined to say over what period the cuts demanded Monday would be needed, but only that they could be achieved in a time longer than the debt-limit boost or past the end of next year.

American Farm Bureau's Mark Maslyn expects White House/GOP debt limit talks starting this week will lead to more cuts to farm programs.

"There's going to be reductions in what we have to work with on writing the next Farm Bill in terms of budget allocations," Maslyn said. "However we don't feel you can balance the budget on the back of farm policy, there's nowhere near that kind of money; the entire farm commodity program is less than a half of 1% of the budget."

On Tuesday, Vice President Joe Biden continued the White House campaign to engage lawmakers on the issue.  Lawmakers from both parties meet for a second time with the Vice President and other White House officials to try to work out a plan aimed at smoothing passage of a debt-limit increase. President Obama is holding two meetings to begin laying the groundwork for compromise, meeting with Senate Democrats on Wednesday and Senate Republicans on Thursday.

Republicans and Democrats already seem to agree on making farm subsidy cuts, but Maslyn says at some point you lose the critical mass of support or funding for the Farm Bill to continue what has been done. He says that is why they have been encouraging leaders to think of fresh ideas and look at what the federal role should be in providing a safety net for farmers.

Maslyn would not speculate on the possibility of a backlash from Farm Bill writers if the budget pie gets too small. He concedes there is a threshold of money needed depending on how the bill is written, but it won't be the same farm bill as it has been in the past.

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