MEMPHIS - The National Cotton Council complimented House Agriculture Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) for his leadership in achieving a responsible and balanced budget reconciliation package.
NCC Chairman Woods Eastland said,“Chairman Goodlatte’s management of the proposed legislation allowed the expertise of the committee members to make adjustments in agricultural programs rather than pushing the task to the Budget Committee.”
The Committee approved the Chairman's proposal 25-19 on a straight party-line vote.The total package includes $3.7 billion in savings, a 23 percent increase over the $3 billion required in the reconciliation instructions from the Budget Resolution. The reductions include $662 million in 2006 and an overall reduction of $3.7 billion for FY2006-10.
"The Committee is committed to a fiscally responsible reconciliation package to offset the increased spending due to recent hurricanes and other natural disasters and increased national security and defense spending," Chairman Goodlatte said in a news release.
The Senate Agriculture Committee, under the guidance of Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), passed a reconciliation package last week that the Congressional Budget Office estimates will reduce outlays for mandatory programs under the Committee’s jurisdiction by $196 million in 2006 and $3.014 billion over the next five years covering FY2006-10.
“Both chairmen did a remarkable job in preserving the integrity of the safety net and rejecting suggestions that limitations on benefits be further reduced or eligibility requirements be modified,” Eastland noted. “Floor consideration in both the House and Senate and a conference to resolve differences will occur, but the U.S. cotton industry appreciates the respective chairmen’s work on packages that will minimize impact on current farm law structure and on producer income.”
In complimenting the chairmen of the House and Senate agriculture committees, Eastland said, “both did a good job on their respective reconciliation packages.”
The full Senate is expected to vote on this reconciliation bill next week, and Senators Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Byron Dorgan (D-ND) have announced their intention to offer an amendment to limit farm program payments.Eastland reiterated that any changes to the payment limitation provisions of current farm law would be extremely disruptive to farmers, lenders and agribusiness and compounded by the damage suffered from the two recent hurricanes and higher fuel costs.