WASHINGTON, April 10 (Reuters) – President Barack Obama
included $4 billion to improve security at hundreds of overseas
diplomatic posts in his budget proposal on Wednesday, in the
wake of the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. mission
in Benghazi, Libya.
The money would secure overseas personnel and facilities,
including enough money to increase embassy security construction
to $2.2 billion, as recommended after an independent review of
the Benghazi attacks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Senate negotiators on Tuesday were putting the finishing touches on a bipartisan immigration bill as labor and agriculture groups argued about restrictions on immigrant farmworkers and their pay, lawmakers and officials involved in the negotiations said.
“We’re making progress. We’re trying to get it done this week,” Senator John McCain told reporters.
WASHINGTON, April 8 (Reuters) – The White House will decide
in coming weeks whether to attempt to blunt low prices in the
U.S. sugar market by buying hundreds of thousands of tons of
surplus sugar and selling it at a loss to ethanol makers.
If approved, it would be the first time the
sugar-for-ethanol program, created in 2008 and known as the
Feedstock Flexibility Program, has been put into operation.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – International anti-hunger activists expect the Obama administration to propose major reforms to its food aid efforts in which the United States would donate cash instead of shipping U.S.-grown food to trouble spots around the world.
The White House declined to comment on Friday on its plans. But people who have heard the plans said the administration has discussed the strategy with interest groups and lawmakers and touted it as a way to save money while still keeping the United States the global leader in food aid.
WASHINGTON, March 21 (Reuters) – Congress approved $55
million on Thursday to prevent the furlough of all U.S. meat
inspectors this summer, a step that could have driven up meat
prices and created spot shortages in grocery stores and
The money for meat inspectors was part of a bill to pay for
federal operations through the end of this fiscal year. The bill
did not restore budget cuts that took effect on March 1,
WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) – The U.S. government is
readying a tool created during last decade’s biofuels craze – a
never-used program to sell sugar at a loss to ethanol makers -
as a way to whittle a looming sugar surplus down to an
The sugar-for-ethanol program could be a lower-cost way for
the Agriculture Department to meet its obligation, by law, to
assure a minimum price for U.S.-grown sugar. Due to large crops
worldwide, New York futures prices are below the federal
guarantee of 20.94 cents per lb.
WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – All U.S. meat inspectors
will be furloughed on the same days as the federal meat safety
agency, a top USDA official said, leading to spotty meat
shortages in the summer and fall as automatic spending cuts
shave $53 million off the agency’s budget.
Agriculture Undersecretary Elizabeth Hagen told a House
Appropriations subcommittee on Wednesday that the furloughs,
expected to total 11 days before the end of September, were
likely to begin in mid-July. None of the days would come
consecutively, she added.
WASHINGTON, March 12 (Reuters) – Automatic budget cuts have
forced the U.S. Department of Agriculture to suspend publication
of 10 statistical reports, including an upcoming semiannual
cattle inventory and monthly milk production data, for the rest
of the fiscal year, the agency said on Tuesday.
Some $1.9 billion in USDA funding was eliminated by the
cuts, which took effect on March 1.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans in the House of Representatives on Tuesday proposed $31 billion in farm subsidy cuts and the conversion of food stamps into a cash benefit program, as a way to help balance the federal budget in 10 years.
The proposal, signed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, left it to the Agriculture Committee to pick the specific cuts, but cited the $5 billion-a-year “direct payment” subsidy, paid regardless of need, and the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance program as areas worthy of review.
WASHINGTON, March 11 (Reuters) – U.S. farm groups are
looking for a formula to lower crop subsidy spending
dramatically and end regional infighting ahead of new
congressional demands for cuts in a farm bill now costing $10
billion more than planned.
Chairman Paul Ryan of the House Budget Committee was
expected to call for deep cuts in agricultural programs on
Tuesday. The cuts could be larger than the $30 billion from farm
subsidies and crop insurance that Ryan proposed last year,