Policy Plate: Kind Pushes Real Farm Bill Reform
Last week the House Ag Committee pushed through one of the worst pieces of food and farm legislation in recent history. While Ag leaders are pressing for the bill to come to the floor, Rep. Ron Kind (D-Wis.), is arguing that the bill “takes us backward in terms of budget-busting crop subsidies, unlimited insurance subsidies, and trade-distorting programs”
Some excerpts from Rep. Kind’s letter to his colleagues in the House of Representatives:
The major “reform” in H.R. 6083 is the long-overdue elimination of the Direct Payment program, which sent hefty subsidies to wealthy producers even when they were posting record farm profits. However, the bill plows 81 percent of the resulting budget savings back into new subsidy programs and layers on new crop insurance subsidies for the very same farmers who benefited from direct payments.
All of these new entitlement programs are being added at the same time the committee is cutting from every other major pot of funding in the farm bill. Since insurance premium subsidies have no payment limits and no income test associated with them, they represent a huge missed opportunity to find additional budget savings.
Plain and simple, this is a very bad bill for American taxpayers and businesses. The FARRM Act is a giveaway to the largest farm operations that are currently seeing record prices and income at the expense of every other consumer in the country.
An editorial in the Daily Democrat in California says of the King amendment to the House Ag Committee farm bill: “It turns out Republicans' self-proclaimed love for states' rights is more selective than they would like to admit.” Read more scorn for the King amendment here.
The Omaha World-Herald reports on possible scenarios should Congress fail to pass a farm bill by the end of September. For farmers hammered by the current drought, the story makes clear that “crop insurance would remain in effect.”
An editorial in The Chico Enterprise-Record calls on Congress to restore funding to nutrition programs which in turn help local farmers: “With more emphasis being placed on buying locally — which is a more sustainable practice — it would be a shame to disable a program that helps residents in need, along with small farmers.”
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