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USDA and the Super Committee

How does your Congressional District become Super Important? By your Senator or Representative being appointed to a Super Committee!

Federal appropriations work is charting new procedural territory this year with the advent of the “super committee” that has been charged with crafting a deficit reduction bill by Thanksgiving. The bill is to be voted up or down by Congress before Christmas. This is a fast track!

What does this mean for USDA food and farming programs?

For folks who don’t closely track the process of spending decisions in Washington, this may be interesting. For folks who do, this process can be downright confusing. How does the work of the Super Committee intersect with that of the Congressional Appropriations Committees?

In a conference call with sustainable agriculture activists this week, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) Policy Director, Ferd Hoefner, stressed that this particular path to legislation has not been trod before, so nobody really knows how the process, let alone the content, will roll out. But according to Hoefner, the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees do expect to have input into Super Committee deliberations.

To put an activists point on it, while the two Southern Representatives on the Super Committee (Jeb Hensarling (R, TX) and James Clyburn (D, SC)) are Super Important for how USDA supports sustainable food and farming programs in the future, other Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee members still have influence and need to hear your priorities for how sustainable agriculture is supported.

Visit NSAC's blog, sign up for their action alerts, or watch for action alerts on Southern SAWG's website to keep abreast of Congressional activities and grassroots strategies around agriculture appropriations.