House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway issued the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s first budget proposal.
“Today’s proposal covers appropriations spending and mainly provides top line numbers. A comprehensive budget, including details, is expected later this spring, when we will have a more complete picture. Importantly, Congress will be working along this same timeline on its own budget policies and priorities.
“At first blush, I am pleased that the Administration is working to restore the strength of our nation’s armed forces to make sure that our men and women in uniform have the equipment that they need to defend our country and our interests around the world. As a member of the Intelligence and Armed Services Committee, this is important. I also appreciate that the President’s budget proposes to block the EPA’s so-called Clean Power Plan and other job killing regulations put forward by the Obama Administration.
“On the USDA budget, I am concerned that the cuts, while relatively small in the context of the total federal budget, could hamper some vital work of the Department. I think it is very important to remember that net farm income is down 50 percent from where it stood just four years ago. America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions. In fact, we need to do all we can to be there to help our farmers and ranchers. The work they do is critical. A well fed world is a safer world.
“I think it is also important to point out that the Agriculture Committees put together a farm bill in 2014 that saved more than $100 billion according to latest estimates. That’s more than four times the savings we had pledged. Agriculture has done more than its fair share. As we in Congress get ready to write the budget, we will certainly pay close attention to the President’s recommendations, many of which I suspect will be incorporated into the budget. But, we will also have ideas on what the budget should look like and our priorities will also be taken into account. The bottom line is this is the start of a longer, larger process. It is a proposal, not THE budget.”