Monday, May 09, 2011

In negotiations to raise national debt limit, both parties looking at cuts in farm programs

Cuts in farm programs appear to be a common element on which Republicans and Democrats can agree in negotiations to pass a bill increasing the federal debt limit. "Conservatives condemn them as intrusions into the free market, liberals denounce them for encouraging environmentally harmful overfarming, and both sides see them as a form of corporate welfare," Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times writes.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor "attended the first session of debt-limit negotiations on Thursday with a list of areas where he saw a potential agreement between Republicans and the White House, including farm subsidies," Steinhauer reports. While some disagreement exists, both parties tend to agree cuts are necessary, and even some strong supporters of the programs have said farmers should expect cuts.

"The scrutiny of farm programs is stronger than ever," Chuck Conner, president of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, told Steinhauer. "It's not that farmers don't want to participate in deficit reduction, but at the same time, we hope people appreciate that all other federal programs have skyrocketed, which is why we are in this mess, and farm subsidies have not." (Read more)

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