Perdue Standing Up to Budget Criticism

5-29 SFN 12 & Today’s Topic – SFN 8 – needs commercial


USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue does not agree with the White House on some key spending cuts in the president’s so far, unpopular USDA budget request.  Those differences quickly became apparent at a House Appropriations hearing. Perdue faced a barrage of budget criticism from Democrats and Republicans on everything from cutting food stamps to eliminating international hunger programs and paring crop insurance. But that was expected at his first hearing before House Ag appropriators.

What wasn’t, were some of the Secretary’s responses, even as he insisted, he was representing the administration’s budget request. Connecticut’s Rosa DeLauro asked Perdue if he stood by his earlier statement defending SNAP, even as the White House proposed cutting food stamps almost 200-billion over 10-years by shifting costs to the states and tightening eligibility requirements…

“Do you still feel those words to be true?


“The reason why I ask is because the statement is not at all aligned with the administration’s proposal to completely gut the food stamp program.”
Perdue insists FY ’18 SNAP is “fully funded,” while the White House proposes legislation to shift some costs to the states in later years. On ending the taxpayer-funded Food for Peace Program that buys U.S.-produced food to donate overseas, and make cash donations instead, an idea Chairman Robert Aderholt complained, makes no sense and went nowhere when the Obama White House proposed it…

“Ms Chairman, I think your comments are essentially irrefutable, and I think again, I would agree with you, we would love to have US produced commodities, US processed commodities to provide jobs here, in order to fulfill our humanitarian  mission.”

On urging the White House to get behind efforts to end the Cuba trade embargo…

“I can answer you rhetorically; absolutely.”

Perdue did stand by the White House on cuts to rural housing, infrastructure, agency staffing and a ten-year, 29-billion dollar cut in producer crop insurance subsidies…

“They’d rather high prices than support, in crop insurance or payments.  That’s what we hope to do, and that was really the genesis behind our emphasis on trade and the undersecretary of trade.”
But even in disagreeing, Perdue was agreeable, reflecting his long political experience as a governor and state lawmaker in softening disputes, diffusing controversy, and perhaps helping a controversial president advance a very tough proposition. That proposition would be shrinking the federal government.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.