Budget Proposal Includes Cuts for USDA
May 26, 2017

On May 23, President Donald Trump released the administration's budget request, officially beginning the Fiscal Year 2018 budget and appropriations process. The request calls for a $3.6 trillion spending cut in the next 10 years, and assumes an inflation-adjusted annual growth rate of 2.4 percent. The blueprint calls for increasing defense discretionary spending by $27 billion to $603 billion. Non-defense discretionary spending would be reduced by $42 billion to $462 billion.

Congress is still operating under the Budget Control Act, amended by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which sets budget caps through FY 2024. Therefore, to enact the proposed increases for defense discretionary spending in FY 2018, Congress would need to pass a new budget resolution, or amend the Budget Control Act. The House and Senate Budget committees were slated to meet on Wednesday, May 24, and Thursday, May 25, respectively, to react to the request. The House Budget Committee is drafting its version of a budget resolution, and will likely hold a markup hearing in early June.

The budget proposes $21 billion in FY 2018 discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Agriculture - a $4.8 billion reduction from FY 2017. Funding for mandatory programs is estimated to be $116 billion - a $7 billion reduction. The budget proposes a reduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program of $193 billion during the next 10 years.

Concerning USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, reductions included: $537,000 for Equine, Cervid & Small Ruminant Health; $47 million for Wildlife Services Operations; and $36,000 for Wildlife Services Development. The budget also calls for the elimination and closure of the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho.

Addressing members of the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Washington, D.C., this week, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (Kan.) told the group not to worry about the proposal, which also calls to eliminate funding for USDA's Market Access and Foreign Market Development programs.

"Don't worry about the president's budget," he said according to MeatingPlace.com. "We haven't paid any attention to a president's budget since Ronald Reagan."