WASHINGTON -- The USA Rice Federation today issued the following statement regarding Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-LA) Feb. 28 vote against a Senate Democratic plan to replace budget sequestration with a proposal to enact unfair alternative budget savings that are unacceptable to the Louisiana rice industry:
"The USA Rice Federation commends Sen. Landrieu for voting against a Senate Democratic budget-savings plan that relied on tax increases and spending cuts by singling out America's military men and women and farmers and ranchers. A plan involving only tax increases and cuts to defense and agriculture is neither responsible nor fair, and it is certainly not good for Louisianans. We applaud Senator Landrieu for doing the right thing and standing up for the people of Louisiana against this inequitable approach. Instead, Louisiana farmers have endorsed a farm bill that actually saves taxpayers more money in agriculture's budget through responsible streamlining and reforms. No aspect of government is so efficient that it cannot be called upon to do the same thing. If everyone does their fair share, we can get this country's fiscal house in order. Sen. Landrieu's vote today was a vote for common sense and fairness and a vote against partisan politics and bad policy. We thank Sen. Landrieu for standing up for our nation's farmers and ranchers, our military men and women, and the American taxpayer."
In a related development, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas today released the following statement after the U.S. Senate failed to pass a replacement bill for the sequester slated to take effect today.
"It is disappointing that the Senate has failed to pass a replacement for the sequester, and more importantly has failed to pass a budget in nearly four years. But, I am pleased they rejected the Reid-Stabenow plan, which unfairly targeted agriculture. America's farmers and ranchers deserve better than to be used as a pawn in a political game.
"The agriculture portion of their proposal called for a 50 percent cut to a single title in the farm bill that accounts for 6 percent of overall agriculture spending and less than 1 percent of overall federal spending. Further, the Reid-Stabenow proposal called for tax increases while adding money to a laundry list of pet projects.
"Our agricultural producers remain committed to being a part of the solution to our fiscal crisis, but a plan that is made up of half tax increases and half cuts to agriculture and defense is an absurd approach to balancing a budget."
Sequestration is an across-the-board reduction in spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. In an effort to turn off sequestration, which is estimated at $85.3 billion for fiscal year 2013, the Senate Democrats proposed raising taxes, cutting defense spending, and cutting the traditional farm safety net. The proposed cuts to the traditional farm safety net are $31 billion, which is a 53 percent reduction.
Contact: Reece Langley, (703) 236-1471