Merkley Statement on USDA Budget Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley, Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, released the following statement in response to the Trump Administration’s proposed 26% budget cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA):

“This budget is a shocking and unprecedented assault on rural America. If enacted, it will hurt farmers, ranchers, kids, and timber communities. This budget represents a direct attack on rural communities’ most basic needs, from slashing investment in small business growth and job creation, to threatening access to clean drinking water.

“In addition, if the ostensible idea of eliminating all food aid is to put more money into defense, it couldn’t be more misguided. Further destabilizing some of the most volatile regions of the world is a recipe for conflict and terrorism.  Just this week, the UN reported that more than 20 million people face starvation and famine in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia, and Nigeria.  Ending American food aid in the face of this crisis is both immoral and stupid.

“Donald Trump ran as a champion of rural America, but now, he is punching rural Americans in the gut.  Just as he betrayed the subcontractors he cheated and refused to pay, and betrayed people lured in by Trump University’s promises, now Donald Trump is betraying rural America.  I look forward to working with true champions for rural America in both parties on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee to toss this budget in the trash where it belongs and do right by our constituents.”