A 12-member bipartisan, joint committee is in the works in Congress. The group would be charged with finding additional cuts and would have the authority to look at everything – including agriculture. Ranking House Ag Committee Member Collin Peterson told FarmPolicy dot com’s Keith Good that he’s skeptical as to whether the House will have anyone on the committee that is connected to agriculture – and believes there’s a better chance for an ag-savvy Senator to be appointed. But Peterson says House Speaker John Boehner has assured him and House Ag Committee Chairman Frank Lucas that they will have input into the final deal.
As Peterson understands it – the committee will come up with a number and send it to the ag committees in the House and the Senate. From there – the committees will have to figure out how to meet that number. If the joint committee does not task a specific number for the ag committees – Peterson says there’s an automatic sequestration to meet 1.5-trillion dollars – which protects some programs – including food stamps and CRP. What that would mean for safety net programs – according to Peterson – is really unclear. He’s looking into it. But based on his rough estimates – Peterson says it looks like sequestration is the best possible outcome for agriculture right now.