WASHINGTON, Feb. 5 - President Bush will seek deep cuts in farm and commodity programs in his new budget and in a major policy shift will propose overall limits on subsidy payments to farmers, administration officials said Saturday. . .I will support subsidies if there is compelling evidence that an industry that is vital to our national well-being cannot operate without them, but even then the subsidies should be narrowly tailored to address a specific problem. Too often, they devolve into nothing more than corporate welfare. That is clearly what has happened with farm subsidies. I wish the White House luck in this battle.
The proposal puts Mr. Bush at odds with some of his most ardent supporters in the rural South, including cotton and rice growers in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi.
The new chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Thad Cochran of Mississippi, and more than 100 farm groups are gearing up to fight the White House proposal.
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