The House Appropriations Committee approved discretionary and mandatory funding of $125.5 billion for agriculture and related agencies for FY12. The spending measure is $7 billion less than the President’s budget request and includes across-the-board cuts. The Committee’s budget, if enacted, would cut discretionary spending by $2.7 billion and reduce total funding to pre-2008 levels.
The Committee accepted on a voice vote an amendment by Rep. Flake, R-Ariz., that would prohibit any farm program payments being made to eligible individuals or entities with adjusted gross incomes exceeding $250,000. If enacted, this new test would become effective on Oct. 1, 2011, and replace the adjusted gross income tests in the 2008 farm law.
The Committee also accepted an amendment by Rep. Flake to reduce direct payments (DPs) on cotton base by $147 million to repay the Commodity Credit Corp. for payments made to the Brazilian Cotton Institute as part of a Framework Agreement between the United States and Brazil. The Framework Agreement was put in place to allow time for the United States to determine what modifications to the program need to be made in the 2012 farm bill to resolve the World Trade Organization case under which Brazil has been granted permission to impose punitive tariffs on up to $820 million in US exports. Subsequently, the Committee accepted an amendment by Rep. DeLauro, D-Conn., to deny any payments to the Brazil Cotton Institute and use the $147 million generated by reduced DPs to restore some of the cuts to the WIC program.
The Commodity Futures Trading Commission budget would be cut 44 percent below the President's budget request; a move Rep. Farr, D-Calif., said in a statement would “hamper the implementation of the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.” Conservation program operations would be cut 13 percent from FY10 levels. Research and Development funding was cut by $361 million, according to Rep. Farr. The bill was approved by voice vote, clearing it for floor consideration during the week of June 13.