The ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, told senior industry leaders, policy makers, and other stakeholders that the Democrat’s tax and spend bill leaves animal agriculture “out in the cold.”
Sen. John Boozman’s remarks were made during the Sustainable Solutions for Zero Hunger by 2030 virtual forum — amid the backdrop of the congressional reconciliation process over the $3.5 trillion federal budget bill.
“Just this week, House Democrats selected their winners and losers when it comes to climate policy as the agriculture portion of the partisan Reconciliation bill advanced through the House,” said Boozman, an Arkansas Republican. “The segment of American agriculture responsible for over half of our country’s farm receipts was left out in the cold entirely. This signals to me that the administration is not interested in assisting animal agriculture in being more sustainable.”
The lawmaker noted that more than $66 billion was directed toward research and infrastructure initiatives focusing on urban agriculture, civilian climate corps, organics, specialty crops, tree equity and more.
“In what we’ve seen so far, not a single dollar in that $94 billion package was devoted to animal agriculture,” Boozman said.
Reconciliation is a way for legislation to move forward on Capitol Hill with a simple majority, avoiding the threat of a filibuster. Because both major parties have 50 Senate seats, Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris’ voting power could play a key role in how both chambers settle upon this cycle’s budget legislation.
For weeks now, Republican lawmakers have voiced concerns that the reconciliation process would not be a bipartisan effort and that many of the key interests of the GOP would be scrubbed from the final wording.
“Discovery of new technologies, and support of public policy that continues to promote them, is going to be key to meeting the climate and hunger challenges of the future,” Boozman said during the forum, which was presented in partnership with Elanco and Agri-Pulse. “Unfortunately for agriculture, animal agriculture in particular, science and technology is often viewed skeptically. Washington is comfortable talking about increasing our conservation efforts and getting more farmers involved in offset markets. But ensuring our policies — both domestically and internationally — stay rooted in science, safety and proper consideration for risks and benefits, will be critical in securing a future that prioritizes both sustainability and food security.”
He said that the White House and its allies have little regard for the impact their decisions will have on agriculture and the rural communities that support this industry.
“The segment of American agriculture responsible for over half of our country’s farm receipts was left out in the cold entirely,” Boozman said. “This signals to me that the Administration is not interested in assisting animal agriculture in being more sustainable.”
Even with Harris in the vice president’s chair, passage spending bill is not guaranteed in the Senate, as Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia has said that he can’t stomach supporting $3.5 trillion in spending.