PFA Pioneer Blog
House Farm Bill and Disaster Aid Proposal
Jul 13, 2012
Pro Farmer Extra
- From the Editors of Pro Farmer newsletter
Disaster Aid proposal
House Farm Bill Highlights
July 13, 2012
Senate Finance Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) Friday called for disaster aid, including a one-year extension of the controversial SURE disaster assistance program that expired last year and three aid programs for livestock producers. The requested aid would cover 2012 crop and livestock losses from wildfires in the West and the Midwest drought. Baucus did not propose any budget offsets for the measure.
Along with SURE, the bill would extend the Livestock Indemnity Program, which compensates ranchers for animals that die, as well as the Livestock Forage Program and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program.
The Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) program was created by the 2008 Farm Billl but funded only through Fiscal Year 2011. The program is controversial for several reasons,including a separate $100,000 payment cap.
The House Ag Committee marked up its farm bill last Wednesday and cleared it shortly after midnight Thursday by a wide margin of 35-11. The panel methodically considered scores of amendments and fended off efforts to temper the measure’s $16-billion cut over 10 years to food stamp program (SNAP) funding. The Senate-passed version shears just $4 billion from the program.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the pre-markup House farm bill would spend $957 billion while saving $35.1 billion over 10 years. This level of savings is $12 billion more than saved in the Senate version.
Other ag panel farm bill amendment action includes:
• Passed an amendment that would require USDA to establish an undersecretary for trade.
• Passed an amendment that repeals the GIPSA rules finalized since 2008 and prohibits USDA from finalizing the remaining rules, as congressional members say USDA overreached in its initial proposed rule.
• Passed an amendment that would require USDA to report to Congress within 90 days on how it plans to change country-of-origin (COOL) labeling to prevent retaliatory actions by Mexico and Canada.
• Passed an amendment that would require USDA to assess the workload of field offices and solicit public comment on planned closures before going forward with them.
• Defeated an amendment that would eliminate supply management from dairy price support.
• Defeated an amendment to modify the sugar program.
The broad support for the bill in the panel ups the odds the farm bill will be brought to the floor for House consideration. Whether this occurs ahead of the Nov. 6 elections is the next focus.
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