Senator John Boozman: Potential PAYGO Cuts Should Give Pause to Idea of Tackling Climate Change Through Reconciliation

U.S. Senator John Boozman (R-AR), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, said the mandatory spending cuts that will result from the Democrats’ massive $1.9T reconciliation package should give pause to the idea of using the same process to further increase deficit spending to address climate change.

As Boozman recently highlighted, the Democrats’ decision to use the budget reconciliation process risks triggering billions of dollars in automatic spending reductions under statutory pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) rules. Unless federal law is changed, PAYGO will zero out virtually all farm program spending over the next five years.

Even with the threat of sequestration looming, Democrats continue to signal that the reconciliation process could be used to advance climate change policy and spending.

“By taking the go-it-alone approach, the majority is already in a position where they must reckon with massive sequestration cuts. Yet, Democrats in both chambers continue to talk about following this same misguided course to address climate change. We can’t help our farmers, ranchers and foresters tackle this very serious issue if we have to make devastating cuts to the very programs that they depend on to succeed,” Boozman said.

The House recently passed legislation to address potential PAYGO cuts, but the bill would have to garner enough support to reach the 60-vote threshold in the Senate.

Boozman highlighted the dangers of moving climate change policies through budget reconciliation at a recent Senate agriculture committee hearing. He warned that pushing sweeping reforms through reconciliation, not only means the minority will not have input, but it also bypasses the Committee entirely and severely limits the ability of the agriculture and forestry communities to weigh in.

“Climate change policies impacting agriculture should be developed here, at the agriculture committee, on a bipartisan basis, as had long been our tradition. I would implore the agriculture and forestry stakeholder groups to consider whether this is an appropriate path forward to establish policies on an issue as important and complex as this. There is too much at stake for the agriculture sector and rural America for climate policies to be advanced in this manner,” Boozman said in his opening remarks during the hearing.