U.S. Congressman Collin Peterson, DFL-Minnesota District 7, is speaking out against President Donald Trump’s proposed 2021 budget.
Trump released a $4.8 trillion budget proposal on Monday, Feb. 10 that included bolstering the national defense budget while decreasing domestic program spending, including cuts to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
“The past year has brought serious economic damage to farmers and rural communities, yet the administration is proposing to cut billions in programs that they count on in many different ways,” Peterson said. “This budget also continues to short-change the funding needed to provide adequate service to USDA customers in field offices.”
The 2021 proposed budget calls for a $21.8 billion decrease in discretionary resources for the USDA. This decrease is by $1.9 billion, or 8.2 percent, from the 2020 enacted level.
The budget cuts discretionary spending to the USDA when the department’s field operations are significantly understaffed, as well as proposing billions in mandatory cuts to crop insurance, conservation spending, disaster assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other programs, Peterson’s office stated.
“This is what happens when ideologues decide to cut programs just for the sake of cutting,” Peterson continued. “We will make sure that the farm bill isn’t cut during this year’s budget process. What’s worse is the President is proposing all these cuts without any attempt to balance the budget.”
If the budget were to pass through Congress, crop insurance would be cut by nearly $25 billion and conservation programs by more than $9 billion. The White House also proposes eliminating assistance for livestock producers in areas that are struck by drought and lessen the ability to provide U.S. commodities for food aid. Rural Energy for America Program and other important rural economic development programs would be eliminated.
The SNAP program spending would be reduced by $182 billion between 2021 and 2030, Peterson’s office continued. SNAP is America’s primary food assistance program that helps needy families purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency.
According to the Associated Press, the new budget plan for the 2021 fiscal year that starts on Oct. 1 would seek to hold down deficits by making cuts to domestic programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
“Trump is making good investments in our military and other critical programs while setting good priorities,” said Minnesota state Rep. Jeff Backer, R-District 12. “At the end of the day, I believe that we should have a budget that is within our means, balanced and with no deficit spending.”
The budget does not estimate wiping out the deficit until 2035, which relies lengthy on economic growth predictions, the New York Times reported. The budget also projects adding $3.4 trillion to the national debt by 2024, which would be at the end of his potential second term.
In Trump’s budget message, he listed key priorities of his administration to be trade deals to expand American markets abroad, peace through increasing the national defense budget, implement policies to fight the opioid crisis, relief from regulation for businesses and American energy independence.