After inspecting work at UW-Madison's Currie Lab on the relationship between ants and microbes, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) voiced her support for getting science research funding back to pre-sequestration levels.
"We have, first of all, flat funded the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the NSF (National Science Foundation) for a number of years, but then, its been compounded by the sequester," said Sen. Baldwin.
Eliminating the sequester is among Sen. Baldwin's chief goals for the Congressional Budget Conference Committee that is expected to begin hammering out a budget resolution before December 13th.
"I believe and I know a number of my colleagues believe we can do this without cutting benefits," said Sen. Baldwin.
But Sen. Ron Johnson (D-Wisconsin) and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI-1) both say any joint resolution needs to include long-term entitlement reforms. The Senate budget makes no cuts to programs like Social Security and Medicare, but Baldwin says it provides other savings.
"I believe it contains $250 billion of cuts in the mandatory spending line," said Sen. Baldwin.
While the two sides seem far apart on a budget resolution, Sen. Baldwin believes agreement on a Farm Bill is much closer than it was a few months ago. While House Republicans are still seeking far higher cuts to the nation's food stamp program than Senate Democrats, they have at least agreed to place the program back into their overall Farm Bill. And Sen. Baldwin says there are additional savings in the Senate version.
"The Farm Bill contains about $23 billion in cuts to outdated commodity programs that have no relevance in today's farm economy," said Sen. Baldwin. "And we're all looking for savings, so, we ought to be moving along on that."
A conference committee on the Farm Bill will begin discussions next week to try and find a compromise. The Budget Conference Committee however, has yet to set its first meeting.