WASHINGTON, April 26, 2023 – Congressional Republicans are holding hostage the entire confidence and credit of the nation to implement destructive cuts , which would harm rural communities, increase costs for hardworking families, and impede economic growth. They’re demanding those cuts, while separately proposing to add to the deficit by more than $3 trillion through tax cuts and giveaways that favor the wealthy and big corporations.
Congressional Republicans have put forward an extreme proposal that would protect particularly vulnerable groups already subject to job requirements, such as veterans and the homeless, by adding burdensome bureaucratic requirements and limiting states to returnables), exacerbating food insecurity by taking food assistance away from SNAP-dependent older Americans. These harmful proposals increase the likelihood that Americans and their families will go hungry and endanger their long-term health and well-being. The proposed reforms would also harm U.S. agriculture and the broader economy, as the benefits of SNAP translate into demand for food produced by U.S. farmers, and for people throughout the food supply chain, from farm workers and truck drivers to those working in manufacturing facilities. Employment opportunities for people who work, and in grocery stores, especially in rural areas where more families receive SNAP benefits.
While the President’s budget details a plan to strengthen the rural economy, increase resilience, and support rural health, House Republicans Proposal to cut 22% on a broad range of key programs Will :
- Increased prices at grocery stores and restaurants
. The proposal would mean eliminating as many as 1,800 food safety inspectors, resulting in lost production of more than 11.5 billion pounds of meat, an additional 11.1 billion pounds of poultry and more than 590 million pounds of egg products. The industry will experience up to $416 billion in lost production, and consumers will face shortages and higher prices for meat, poultry and egg products at grocery stores and restaurants.
- Remove housing support for rural tenants. The proposal would cause as many as 63,000 people in rural communities currently receiving USDA-funded rental assistance to lose their unit contracts, putting these families at increased risk of homelessness and undermining affordable housing supply.
- Restrict household access to broadband. The proposal would mean removing approximately 125,000 households from connecting to high-speed Internet service, which is critical for job creation, access to telehealth services, bridging the digital divide between urban and rural students, and supporting rural economies.
- cut technical assistance to rural communities. The proposal would cut critical technical assistance to rural communities through the Rural Partners Network (RPN), which currently supports 36 rural communities in ten states and Puerto Rico, and has proven to link these communities to job creation and Infrastructure resources are connected. Rural communities in at least two states will no longer receive full-time federal worker support through the RPN, reducing access to aid and resources across the federal government for families, homeowners, seniors, veterans, small businesses, agricultural producers, and more Chance.
- harms water quality improvement and conservation efforts. This proposal would mean 84,000 fewer farmers and ranchers would receive conservation planning assistance, impact as many as 54,000,000 acres and undermine conservation efforts and water quality improvements.
Beyond the immediate impact on USDA programs, these proposed cuts will negative impact on rural communities. Specifically, these proposed reductions would:
- Reduced visits to health centers. Community health centers provide comprehensive services regardless of the ability to pay for one in five rural residents. The proposal means an estimated 630,000 patients in rural areas would lose access to medical centers and critical healthcare services.
- Weakened response to wildland fires. The proposal would mean reducing the response to wildland fires by as many as 2,700 full-time firefighters, including federal and tribal wildland firefighters.
- Cut funding to regional councils. The proposal would mean cutting $67.2 million in infrastructure and economic development grants to help impoverished communities across the U.S. Services are provided by the Regional Council and the Southeast Crescent Regional Council. The cuts mean fewer workers receiving job training and fewer projects to improve transportation, water and sewer systems and other critical infrastructure.
In addition to these cuts to priorities such as safe, affordable housing, public safety and food assistance In addition to having damaging effects, Congressional Republicans’ plan would also keep people in rural communities out of Medicaid by imposing new bureaucratic job reporting requirements. People living in rural areas where jobs are scarcest may have the hardest time finding enough work to meet the already stringent requirements. Extending these failed job requirements to more people will make it harder for individuals and rural communities to recover from periods of unemployment such as a pandemic. Congressional Republican proposals would lead to increased poverty, health outcomes and food insecurity in these communities, and state experience shows they would result in many losing health insurance.
The bill would also recoup critical funding earmarked for rural communities ,include:
- cut payments to farmers facing natural disasters, and distressed farm loan borrowers in the financial sector. The pandemic has caused significant disruption to the U.S. agricultural sector, including lower commodity prices. The USDA has provided $23.5 billion to farmers facing market disruptions, increased production costs and lower prices. USDA is still working to reach affected farmers. Withdrawing those funds would mean farmers who were applying for aid to cover losses from the pandemic would not receive payments.
- Destroying the resilience of the meat and poultry supply chain. The pandemic has revealed the weaknesses of our nation’s food system, especially in the meat and poultry industry where production capacity is concentrated in a few geographic areas. Removing the $1.4 billion balance would undermine progress toward more resilient supply chains and increased local processing options for producers.
- Slow production of renewable energy. This bill repeals the portion of the IRA that allows optional payments for renewable energy production. This will slow the transition to clean energy and disproportionately affect rural areas.
- STOP USDA Investing in Next Generation Foods USDA has granted a minority National Services invests $250 million to create agricultural career opportunities for next generation of scholars. When government reflects the makeup of this country, it better serves all Americans. Removing support for a program designed to bring the best and brightest into agriculture limits the long-term ability of USDA and its programs to provide food, fuel and fiber to the nation and the world.
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