Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., Wednesday released the Senate Democrats' fiscal year 2014 budget, providing insight on the group's plans for deficit reduction from the ag sector.
The release comes on the heels of the House Republicans' proposal, and offers differences in style and depth.
While the House plan proposed a 10-year deficit reduction of $4.6 trillion and highlighted specific savings from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and farm bill programs, the Senate Dems' plan offers $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction and a projected savings of $23 billion from the Senate Farm Bill, without touching on specifics.
Plan boasts $4.25 trillion in deficit reduction; estimated $23 billion from Senate Farm Bill reforms
"Our budget supports the efforts of the Senate Agriculture Committee to write a new Farm Bill that will make significant reforms to farm programs, while refocusing support on helping farmers throughout the country manage risk," the budget text says.
Though the House plan focused on detailed cuts, the Senate plan presented the programs it plans to retain: conservation investments and cost-share programs, agriculture research for land-grand universities, and investments in clean energy.
The budget promises also a strong safety net with flexibility for the Senate Agriculture Committee to write a five-year farm bill.
The budget text explains that the 2012 Senate Farm Bill would have reformed farm programs while refocusing support on helping farmers manage risk, and would have also continued important investments in specialty crops and home-grown energy. This is why, the Senate Democrats say, they are supporting five-year farm bill reauthorization while taking advantage of spending reductions in farm bill programs.
Senate Democrats say the sequestration cuts would weaken research capabilities, hurting the competitiveness of the ag sector by making it harder to stay in the race for new crop varieties, thereby warranting an itemized budget.
Grassley pushes for 'even-handed' Farm Bill spending reductions
Sen. Chuck Grassley, D-Iowa, clarified Thursday with the budget committee that all farm bill programs, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, will be eligible for spending cuts in the Senate budget.
Grassley has long supported regulating farm payment programs for small and mid-sized farmers, as well as limiting loopholes and including conservation and nutrition programs in spending reform.