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House GOP Releases Ag Budget

House Republicans proposed a $20.9 billion budget for agriculture and food safety programs Monday, an 82-page bill that challenges the White House on nutrition rules and denies major new funding sought by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to better regulate the rich derivatives market.


The CFTC fares better than in the past in that the GOP allows for a modest $3 million increase for information technology investments. But the $218 million budget is still $62 million less than President Barack Obama’s request and continues a pattern that has frustrated the administration’s ability to implement Wall Street reforms called for under the Dodd-Frank law enacted in July 2010.


In the case of nutrition programs, the House bill seeks to open the door for white potatoes to be added to the list of qualified vegetables under the WIC supplemental feeding program for pregnant women and their young children. USDA would also be required to establish a waiver process for local school districts which have found it too costly to comply with tougher nutrition standards for school lunch and breakfast programs.