Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., said Wednesday that funding decisions for farm programs should be made by congressional agriculture committees during negotiations on the next Farm Bill.
In a letter to President Barack Obama, Conrad and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said the Senate Agriculture Committee should make spending decisions for farm programs. They also urged congressional leaders not to support funding cuts to the programs as lawmakers work toward a budget compromise.
â€œInstead of making arbitrary cuts now through an appropriations bill, we urge that the Agriculture Committee be given the responsibility for crafting any necessary reductions as part of the reauthorization of the 2008 Farm Bill,â€ the senators wrote.
Conrad and Baucus are both senior members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which has already started hearings on the 2012 Farm Bill.
They noted that tackling the national debt is one of the most important issues for Congress this year, but said spending decisions for farm programs should be made by the senators who represent agricultural states.
â€œAgriculture is prepared to contribute its fair share in putting our fiscal house in order,â€ Conrad and Baucus wrote. â€œHowever, it does not make sense to single out the agricultural budget for cuts that will do little to reduce spending in the short run while greatly complicating reauthorization of the Farm Bill later this Congress.â€