On March 29, the House approved a budget resolution that would cut an estimated $3.5 trillion in federal spending over the next ten years below current spending levels. The resolution instructs the House Agriculture Committee to come up with a plan by April 27 to cut spending for programs under its jurisdiction by more than $33 billion over the next ten years.
The plan would require the House Committee on Agriculture to change the rules governing mandatory spending programs for food, agriculture, conservation, and energy programs so as to reduce overall spending by $8.2 billion in FY2013, $19.7 billion over five years, and $33.2 billion over ten years. Essentially, this means the committee must draft its version of the next five-year Farm Bill within the next month and meet the requirements of the budget resolution.
This year (FY2012), the federal government will likely spend $134 billion for nutrition, agriculture and conservation programs, of which about $19 billion is discretionary (i.e., subject to annual appropriations) and the remainder is mandatory (i.e., determined by eligibility standards set in law and the number of people who meet those requirements year to year). More than three-quarters of the nutrition and agriculture budget goes for nutrition programs. The federal government invests relatively little in agriculture energy programs: about $157 million (about 0.1 percent) in FY2012.
For more information on the House budget plan, see last week’s SBFF. In accompanying documents, the House Budget Committee makes clear that it does not see a continuing role for the federal government in advancing bioenergy or any other kind of renewable energy.