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CQ Roll Call | White House Issues Veto Threat for House Agriculture Spending Bill

June 25, 2013
In The News

White House Issues Veto Threat for House Agriculture Spending Bill
By Ellyn Ferguson | CQ Roll Call | June 25, 2013

 

 

The White House announced Tuesday that it “strongly opposes” the House’s fiscal 2014 Agriculture spending bill and that the president would veto the bill if necessary.

The bill (HR 2410) “severely undermines key investments in financial oversight in a manner that would cripple Wall Street reform and impedes implementation of statutorily mandated financial regulations,” according to the statement of administration policy.

“It also imposes harmful cuts in rural economic development, renewable-energy development, nutrition programs, food safety, agricultural research and international food aid. Investing in these areas is critical to the nation’s economic growth, security and global competitiveness.”

The House bill’s discretionary spending is capped at $19.45 billion to meet the spending limits set by the Budget Control Act (PL 112-25). The level is $1.3 billion below the 2013 enacted level. The bill provides funding for farm programs, agriculture research, nutrition programs for the poor, rural development, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

The Obama administration criticized not only the Agriculture appropriations bill but also the Republican House for proceeding with appropriations bills without a budget agreement with the Democratic Senate.

The White House said the proposed funding of $195 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission is below its current budget and not enough for it to meet obligations under Dodd-Frank financial overhaul (PL 111-203) to police the over-the-counter derivatives market, which is considered one of the contributors to the meltdown of the financial markets in 2008.

The administration also said the $6.7 billion in funding for the Women, Infants and Children nutrition program will not meet projected demand and that the bill proposes a deep cut to the Food for Peace program that provides food staples to the hungry around the world.

The policy statement came as the House Rules Committee met to consider a rule to bring the measure to the floor. The panel did not set a date for floor action, but Robert B. Aderholt, chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee, said he was on call this week should the leadership decide to tackle the bill before leaving for a one-week Fourth of July recess.

Aderholt, R-Ala., said he worked with a tight budget to produce the best bill he could.

“This is not a perfect bill. Some people say it spends too little. Some people say it spends too much. I would say it strikes a balance between the two by ensuring that our highest-priority programs are adequately funded,” he told the Rules Committee.

Sam Farr, D-Calif., said Aderholt worked hard on the bill but that there is a limit to how much he should “cut, squeeze and trim.”

Farr said an estimated 214,000 eligible applicants would be denied participation in the Women Infants and Children program and that the funding cut of $284 million to the Food for Peace program would mean 7.4 million people could be served.