DDI09.SS.BlueDogsLikeAg.Wave5

DDI09.SS.BlueDogsLikeAg.Wave5 - Dartmouth 2K9 1 Blue dogs...

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9977eff37a2d5a0118787cea7984187d94af6b1c.doc Dartmouth 2K9 1 Blue dogs like ag Blue dogs support increased agricultural spending Washington Post ’1 (“Farm Interests Put Squeeze on Bush Budget Plan; Bipartisan Push for Huge Increase in Agriculture Spending Could Affect Fate of Tax Cut Proposal”, nexis) But an alternative Democratic budget plan advanced by Sen. Kent Conrad (N.D.), the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee , would increase spending for agriculture by $ 100 billion over the next decade -- more than one dollar out of eight of the $ 750 billion allocated for new spending initiatives such as education, defense and prescription drug benefits for seniors. Conrad, whose state is a major producer of premium wheat for flour and pasta, said that maintaining or expanding support payments is crucial to strengthening the U.S. position in negotiations with the European Union over reducing its agriculture subsidies. In the House, the ranking Democrat on the Agriculture Committee, Rep. Charles W. Stenholm (Tex.), is a leader of the congressional "Blue Dog" faction made up of 33 conservative Democrats from 20 states . Conrad's $ 100 billion figure is "in the ballpark of what the Blue Dogs are saying," Stenholm said. Behind the drive to increase agriculture spending are groups such as the Commission on 21st Century Production Agriculture, the American Farm Bureau Federation and organizations representing cotton, wheat and corn producers. In testimony to Congress last month, the Farm Bureau's Stallman called for $ 7.7 billion a year in increased commodity payments for farmers and $ 4 billion for other Agriculture Department programs. Blue dogs key to the agenda – form KEY swing votes on EVER policy – our evidence is on FIRE Chaote , staff writer, 2009 (“Stenholm's 'Blue Dogs' show muscle in health plan debate”, August 9, reporter news, http://www.reporternews.com/news/2009/aug/ 08/no-headline---stenholm_web) WASHINGTON — Former Big Country Congressman Charlie Stenholm predicted more than two years ago that the Democrats he fondly calls “my Blue Dogs” would vault into prominence. Stenholm , a lobbyist who still considers himself a Blue Dog, told the Reporter-News in January 2007 that no legislation would pass the House without the blessing of the caucus of conservative and moderate Democrats. The fiscally frugal group is coming into its own as shown by its members forcing negotiations on health-care reform recently in the House . T he approximately 50 Blue Dogs form a powerful and unified block of swing votes on any issue they see fit to influence from climate change to pay-as-you-go budgeting . They’re bringing to heel their more liberal House leaders and bending President Obama’s ear at the White House . Former Blue Dog standout and 26-year Big Country Congressman Stenholm spoke with the Reporter-News last week on everything from what the Blue Dogs stand for to the state of health care today to tomorrow’s energy needs. Stenholm, a Blue Dog founder, long represented the 17th Congressional District with Abilene as a centerpiece. After district boundaries were redrawn to favor Republicans, he was paired with U.S. Rep. Randy Neugebauer in the 19th
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