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USDA’s Budget Request for Fiscal Year 2013
On February 13, Secretary Vilsack unveiled the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) portion of the President's Budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 (FY2013). The President is required to submit a Budget to Congress on the first Monday in February. The President's budget is basically an outline of the administration's priorities for the year ahead.
The USDA budget proposal calls for approximately $700 million in discretionary spending cuts from the 2012 enacted level. The 2012 fiscal year expires on September 30, 2012.
The proposed FY2013 USDA budget consists of $131 billion in mandatory entitlement programs and approximately $24 billion in discretionary spending, if Congress accepts all of the discretionary proposals. The entire $700 million in proposed spending cuts will come out of discretionary spending, which includes animal health programs for livestock such as horses.
While there remains a great deal of uncertainty regarding whether the Administration's FY2013 budget proposal can pass Congress, there are two items that warrant specific attention relating to horses in the proposed budget.
The President's FY2012 Budget Proposal included the "Equine, Cervid & Small Ruminant Health" line within Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The President requested this line to be funded at $22 million, and Congress maintained that funding level in the 2012 USDA Appropriations Bill, which runs through September 30, 2012. The vast majority of this funding was authorized under the Scrapie Program for sheep and goats.
This year, the President's FY2013 Budget Proposal created a new line item for "Equine & Cervid Health" with a requested funding level of $4 million. The budget proposal calls for "...a decrease for Equine and Cervid Health activities of about $1.3 million to eliminate Federal contributions towards addressing chronic wasting disease..." Chronic wasting disease affects mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, and moose. USDA's realignment of the "Equine & Cervid Health" line should have no direct impact on the funding available for equine health.
Horse Protection Act
The FY2013 Budget Proposal requests $25 million for "Animal Welfare" (the Horse Protection Act is funded and administered through this line item). The FY2013 request is a decrease of $3 million from the FY2012 request and includes $500,000 for enforcement of the HPA, a decrease of $196,000 from 2012.
USDA's 2013 budget request does not account for the Agency's portion of the automatic cuts enacted as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, known as "sequestration." These mandatory cuts will be implemented if Congress fails to enact a deficit-reduction bill containing at least $1.2 trillion in cuts across the entire federal government over 10 years (which Congress has thus far failed to do).
To what extent the combination of sequestration, an election year, and the expiration of the 2008 Farm Bill will have on the budget process in 2012 is unknown, but it will be substantial, to say the least.
The President's FY2013 Budget Proposal will now be submitted to the House and Senate Budget Committees and go through the full Congressional appropriations process.
Please let us know if you have any questions.