Valley leaders argue federal budget will hurt farmers, low-income families

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- President Donald Trump's budget for 2018 calls for a boost in defense spending but proposes many cuts to vital services that would impact a number of families living in the San Joaquin Valley.

"This budget takes the meat ax to rural areas," Congressman Jim Costa argued.

Costa says Trump's math is problematic. Some of the biggest cuts are aimed at the neediest, and the President's budget wants to slash the Federal Food Stamp program.

It would also limit current eligibility and add new work requirements to receive help.

"A budget like a family's budget is a series of priorities and taking care of our children and elderly should be among our first priorities," Costa said.

Local farmers would feel the pinch as well. The President's budget would limit a number of ag-related subsidies such as crop insurance programs and research that help California remain competitive in the global market.

"We're going to see a lot of going back and forth, but right now we're looking at a 20 percent cut on the USDA side of things. And that doesn't only affect the farm side of things, but neutrinos side of things that people throughout the nation participate in," Ryan Jacobsen with the Fresno County Farm Bureau said.

Many call the proposal an overreach that would likely look much different by the time it's signed into law.

"We need to work together like we did two weeks ago to pass this five-month budget and if we focus in that fashion," Costa said. "I think we can produce a bipartisan budget for 2018."
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