July 23, 2011 --
Budget End-Game Still Unclear as Other Issues Fall to the Side
National Association of Wheat Growers
A deal to rein in the federal debt and raise the government’s borrowing limit just days before a projected default was elusive this week, with more proposals floated but no end in sight. Discussions continue between top leaders in Congress and President Barack Obama while most of the rest of Washington waits and wonders. The Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of Senators that was seeking to negotiate a long-term compromise on debt and deficit issues until it faltered in May, seemed to reconstitute this week, even issuing a proposal that gained relatively warm reception.
On Tuesday, the Republican-controlled House passed in a 234-190 vote a so-called “cut, cap and balance” bill, which would cap overall federal spending and require Congress to pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution before the debt ceiling could be raised. The legislation was denounced by Democrats and failed a procedural vote on Friday in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Meanwhile, the agriculture community continues to work to express the importance of a strong farm safety net and other investments in ag-related programs. There is no solid figure of what could be cut from agriculture-area programs in an eventual deal, but numbers have been floated ranging from $10-11 billion, in the President’s debt commission report and the Gang of Six proposal, to $30 billion or more in debt talks led by Vice President Joe Biden and the House-passed budget resolution.
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