Subcommittee Rejects Trump Ag Cuts; China Beef Celebration
**The House Appropriations Committee’s agriculture and energy subcommittees approved bills that reject most of the cuts sought by President Trump.
The bill approved by the panel’s ag subcommittee would still cut discretionary spending at USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission by $876 million from fiscal 2017 levels.
The $20 billion funding level was below what most subcommittee members would have liked, which prompted criticism of some specific cuts, but there also was an understanding that it could have been worse.
**The future of a new farm bill is tied up in negotiations over a fiscal 2018 budget bill that Republicans want to pass in order to enact one of their top priorities, tax reform. A group of House conservatives is demanding cuts in food stamps and other welfare program to help offset the tax cuts.
But House Ag Chairman Mike Conaway has been pushing back hard on the deep reduction to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that conservatives want but which could make it harder to get the support he needs to pass the farm bill.
The size of the SNAP reduction is a major area of disagreement, but not the only one.
**Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue joined U.S. Ambassador Terry Branstad in China over the weekend to celebrate the reopening of China to U.S. beef.
The first shipments of U.S. beef to China started two weeks ago, after an agreement was reached between the two countries and china’s 14-year ban was lifted.