House Budget Committee chairman Jim Nussle says lawmakers are trying, once again, to set limits that will prevent so-called “corporate farmers” from raking in federal farm subsidies.
Nussle says lawmakers “really mean it this time.” A previous attempt to prevent any American farmer from getting more than 250-thousand dollars in federal farm subsidies failed because of loopholes, and Nussle says Congress believes they’ve found the means to close those loopholes.
Some of those getting more than a quarter-of-a-million dollars in farm payments were creating separate corporations for various tracts of land to get around the cap. The cap on farm payments is part of the budget-cutting plan Nussle and other Republicans in Congress are advancing to cut over 50 billion dollars in federal spending and plug more resources into rebuilding the hurricane-ravaged south.
Nussle says the G-O-P also proposes a one-percent reduction in farm subsidy payments to individual farmers in each of the next five years. Nussle warns there could be deeper cuts in farm subsidies in the next few years as U.S. policymakers agree to reduce farm supports in this country to get other countries to open their markets to U.S. commodities.
The food stamp program is also part of the federal ag budget, and Nussle says the plan is to pare over one-hundred million dollars from that program in the next budgeting year. Democrats charge that’s taking food away from the needy. Nussle says that’s not the case. He says there’s a nine percent error rate in the program, and Republicans want reform. According to Nussle, “not too long ago” there was a 21 percent error rate in the food stamp program, and reforms cut that in half. “We want to continue to weed the garden and make sure that we do everything possible to reduce any kind of fraud or waste within this program so that the resources get to truly needy people,” Nussle says.