Proposed cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Program were not included in House and Senate agriculture appropriation bills, but the program’s funding is not safe from Congressional belt-tightening yet.
“The House did not single out MAP,” said Kam Quarles, vice president of government relations and legislative affairs for the Washington, D.C.-based United Fresh Produce Association, on April 15.
The Senate bill also did not single out MAP for reductions, but Quarles said the program was cited as a possible source of cuts under the report language.
President Obama’s proposed fiscal year 2010 budget called for a 20% cut in the $200 million annual funding to the program, but the House and Senate appropriation bills did not specifically single out the program for reductions.
MAP delivers tens of millions of dollars annually for export promotion of fruits and vegetables.
“It still remains a threat we are all working on,” Quarles said, adding that cuts to the program are always possible during the reconciliation process between House and Senate appropriation bills.
Congress reconvenes the week of April 20 after its spring work period and will likely take up the appropriations bills then.