A news release issued yesterday by Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) indicated that, “U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and U.S. Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), a senior member of the Committee, today announced they sent a letter to the President opposing budget cuts to farm programs in a tough economy. The letter was also signed by Senators Thad Cochran (R-MS), John Thune (R-SD), James Risch (R-ID), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and David Vitter (R-LA).”
In part, the letter stated that, “As Congress directs its attention to the fiscal year 2011 budget, we write to voice our opposition to cuts in the farm safety net. Cutting farm programs in the midst of an economic downturn sends the wrong signal to rural America. While we agree that fiscal restraint is necessary and spending in the Federal budget should be reduced, doing so in this manner places a disproportionate burden on the backs of farmers, ranchers and rural communities and fails to recognize the recent sacrifices these constituencies made to expand nutrition programs during the reauthorization of the 2008 farm bill.
“In 2008, the Congress passed a fiscally responsible farm bill that did not add to the deficit and included more than $7 billion worth of cuts to farm and the crop insurance programs to increase spending in nutrition assistance for needy Americans. The farm bill represents a commitment to our rural communities, and we have an obligation to fulfill our obligations to our farmers and ranchers who depend on this legislation to make business decisions. Reducing our level of commitment with the proposed budget cuts to the farm safety net jeopardizes their economic sustainability and would cost jobs in rural America.”