The fiscal year 2020 budget submitted by President Donald Trump includes a couple of points sure to ignite debate in the budgetary process. The proposal includes imposing work requirements on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program recipients. The Hagstrom Report says the proposed budget also imposes work requirements on recipients of Medicare and federal housing benefits. The work requirements will likely reduce program participation. That’s part of an administration plan to reduce federal mandatory and discretionary spending. A senior administration official says these are the biggest proposed cuts made by any president in history. However, Congress generally doesn’t follow presidential budgets when they write appropriation bills.
The budget proposal is typically seen more as a statement of administration priorities. The proposed budget will also cut back on farm subsidies paid out to farmers in the highest income brackets. It would also reduce the average premium crop insurance subsidy from 62 percent to 48 percent. It would also limit commodity, conservation, and crop insurance subsidies to producers that have an adjusted gross income of $500,000 or less.
Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue said of Trump’s budget proposal, “Our economy is booming, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. While the agriculture community still faces challenges, the Trump economy is creating new opportunities for all Americans to thrive.” He went on to say, “We are stewards of other people’s money and must be diligent in spending it more carefully than we would our own when it comes to delivering our programs. At the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.”
House Ag Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota issued the following statement:
“The President’s budget request is a road map for how to make things worse for farmers, ranchers and those who live in rural communities: $26 billion in cuts to crop insurance; $9 billion in cuts to successful, voluntary conservation programs; $5 billion in cuts to Section 32 programs that help purchase commodities in times of need; $8 billion in cuts to programs that help ranchers recover grazing lands hurt by drought; yet another attempt to cut SNAP; elimination of the Rural Energy for America and Rural Economic Development programs and billions in other cuts. This proposal tells us one of two things: either the White House doesn’t understand why these programs are important, or they don’t care. What’s more, all of these shortsighted cuts are second and third attempts to revisit policy proposals that were rejected in the farm bill negotiations. This budget was concocted by a bunch of ideologues who can’t see what’s clearly going on in the farm economy. The good news is this budget is going nowhere in Congress, where the bipartisan farm bill passed with 369 votes.”
The president’s proposed budget did increase spending by $85 million for USDA’s flagship research program, National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s (NIFA) Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
Sources: NAFB News Service, USDA Communications, Supporters of Agriculture Research, and House Ag Committee Press Release