Senate plan: Cut Direct Payments to meet USDA sequestration

Published online: Feb 15, 2013
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Senate Democrats have developed an alternative to the pending across-the-board sequestration cuts.

The "American Family Economic Protection Act" contains $120 billion of savings, split evenly between cuts and revenues, that would replace the sequestration-designated cuts to defense and domestic spending until the end of December.

As part of the plan, the Direct Farm Payments which were extended by that fiscal cliff bill on New Year's Day would be eliminated; the savings would be $27.5 billion, more-than-enough to meet the sequestration cuts at USDA. That means federal meat inspectors would stay on the job plus Senate Ag Committee Chair Debbie Stabenow says there would be funding for disaster assistance and fill the "holes" left in the farm bill extension. "Which means we would extend the funding for the energy title and certain specialty crop provisions, organics, the other provisions that did not get funded on New Year's eve."

The Senator says the cut would satisfy the 10-year sequestration "So we would be guaranteeing that we would not have another mandatory cut in spending next year or the year after or the year after."

As it stands, it would take the support of all Senate Democrats and at least five Republicans to get past a filibuster. Senator Stabenow says she hopes to get the plan through the Senate and then it would go to the House.