Perdue tells committee Congress has final say on budget

The tone of the Senate appropriations sub-committee hearing on the USDA budget was cordial but the message from members to Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue this morning was clear – the president’s proposed budget cuts take too much out of agriculture.

Perdue agreed that crop insurance, rural development, research are important but said there need to be cuts to USDA staffing and in other areas of the agency. But, he said, Congress has the power to decide, “As we right-size this budget you all know you’re gonna get a last stamp on this.” Perdue said, in President Trump’s defense, a roundtable with farmers and ranchers was held the day Perdue was confirmed and Trump signed an executive order to promote rural prosperity.

Montana Senator Jon Tester, a Democrat, used proposed cuts in USDA research and development as an example of words versus actions, saying, “ Mr. Secretary I would just tell you, and it’s just this way – follow the money. I mean, words are one thing, and I’m not saying you. I’m talking about getting’ folks together and talking is good. We talk a lot of stuff in the Senate. But, if the money’s not there the R & D is just, I hate to say this, but it ain’t gonna happen.”

Perdue told the committee members to hold him accountable.



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