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Montana Sen. Max Baucus (Dem.) said yesterday that he would vote against the deficit reduction plan before the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform because the “recommendations paint a big red target on rural America, and I won’t support anything that puts the debt burden on the backs of Montanans and other rural states while others get a free pass.”
Baucus (above) is a member of the Deficit Commission, which was appointed by President Obama and headed by former Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles. Simpson and Bowles have made their recommendation to a committee of 18, including Baucus. (The Montanan is also chair of the Senate Finance Committee.) There are not enough votes now on the Commission for it to pass when a vote is held today.
Baucus’ objections all had a rural point of view. Cuts to veteran and Social Security payments “hit rural America the hardest because we proudly have more veterans and seniors than most other states.” Adding 15 cents a gallon to the gas tax “would hurt folks in rural states like Montana where we often have to travel long distances in the course of one day.”
• The final Bowles/Simpson recommendation would cut farm programs by $15 billion over the next decade. That is $7 billion less than an earlier version of the plan.
• The world is running out of places to fish, according to a new report.
Juliet Eilperin reports in the Washington Post that a new study finds that the global seafood catch is dropping “because there’s essentially nowhere to go,” according to one of the researchers.
• A federal judge in California has ordered that crops of genetically modified sugar beets be pulled from the ground.
Environmental groups had filed suit earlier, claiming that the federal government had not properly vetted Monsanto’s genetically modified, Roundup Ready, sugar beets. U.S. District Judge Jeffrey White agreed with this claim.
The government allowed the planting of sugar beet stecklings, young plants that produce seeds that are then planted to grow sugar beets. Judge White’s most recent order requires producers to remove these plants, which would produce seed for the spring 2012 planting. Monsanto said it would appeal this ruling. Nearly all sugar beets planted in the U.S. are Roundup Ready. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5i5ySR1mp3qgeowzFuM6lO-249h-Q?docId=dbc5bf930597482b9e4dada7eda27a82