Lincoln, Pryor to Bush: No Harmful Budget Cuts for Rural America
U.S. Senators Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor sent a letter to President Bush this week urging him to avoid proposing harmful budget cuts that would injure our nation's farmers and ranchers, rural communities, food nutrition policies that help school children and low-income families, resource conservation initiatives, and other important national priorities provided under the Farm Bill.
"America's farmers provide the safest, most abundant, and most affordable food supply on the globe, and they do so with the support of a farm policy that is less than one-half of one percent of our overall budget," Lincoln said. "As the President prepares this year's budget proposal, I hope he remembers the contributions of rural America and the programs vital to our working families, farmers, small business and local economies across the heartland. Moreover, the already-realized and expected budget savings under current farm policy offer the Administration the opportunity to make new investments to expand our goals on agriculture policy rather than propose more harmful cuts."
"Agriculture continues to play a pivotal role in our country's economy and way of life. That is why it is vital that we continue to fund important initiatives that will boost economic development and revitalize our rural communities," Pryor said. "We know the Farm Bill works, but we must provide adequate resources. I am committed to ensuring that proper investments are made in rural America and that our producers are provided the stability they need to prosper."
Joined by a bipartisan group of senators, Lincoln and Pryor urged the President to instead propose a robust new investment in renewable fuels in keeping with his commitment to end America's addiction to foreign oil.
"Lessening America's dependence on foreign sources of energy must be a top priority for this Administration," Lincoln said. "Our farmers in Arkansas and across the country have shown what can be done with renewable fuels like biodiesel. We have fallen behind other nations with respect to our alternative energy policy and it is time our government makes the proper investment in renewable fuels. These budget savings are welcome news and create an opportunity for the Administration to place our country on the path to greater energy independence with a strong commitment to renewable fuels."
"I know that families in Arkansas and across America want and deserve an energy plan that truly moves us toward energy independence," said Pryor. "I believe that the President and Congress should pursue a comprehensive, yet balanced approach to energy policy. We must protect consumers from high energy prices, promote energy efficiency, and increase domestic energy supplies. Instead of tweaking current energy policies as the country has done for decades, we have a unique opportunity to revolutionize how our country produces, uses, and conserves energy."
Senators signing the budget letter to the President include: Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR); Mark Pryor (D-AR); Norm Coleman (R-MN); Max Baucus D-MT; Carl Levin (D-MI); Larry Craig (R-ID); Mike Crapo (R-ID); Debbie Stabenow (D-MI); David Vitter (R-LA); Mary Landrieu (D-LA); John Thune (R-SD); Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Byron Dorgan (D-ND); Ken Salazar (D-CO); and Kit Bond (R-MO).