Letter to Senate: Oppose Bloated Farm Bill

Letter to Senate: Oppose Bloated Farm Bill

Agriculture,  | Quick Take
May 23, 2013  | 4 min read | Print Article



May 22, 2013



Dear Senator:

Taxpayers for Common Sense urges you to vote no on The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954) while supporting common sense amendments to reduce its negative effects on taxpayers.  While its proponents claim the bill makes long anticipated reforms and saves $24 billion, in reality S. 954 costs nearly a trillion dollars, employs numerous budget gimmicks that seek to mislead taxpayers, and resurrects failed policies from farm bills of yesteryear.

Do not believe the hype. S. 954 is not a legitimate deficit reduction bill, authorizing $955 billion in mandatory spending. The bill sponsors attempt to take credit for over $6 billion in already mandated sequestration savings. In addition, fully two-thirds of the “savings” occur after this bill expires in 2018 and the Congressional Budget Office estimates that if all discretionary programs are fully funded, the bill would cost taxpayers an additional $40 billion in deficit spending over ten years.

There is significant room for greater deficit reduction, accountability, cost-effectiveness, and transparency in federal agriculture policy. Supporting the following common sense amendments will help rein in the spiraling costs of agricultural commodity entitlements, allow the private sector to appropriately take on more risks, and reduce costs to taxpayers:

• Sens. Feinstein (D-CA) and McCain’s amendment #923 eliminates crop insurance subsidies for tobacco.

• Sens. Toomey (R-PA) and Shaheen’s (D-NH) amendment #926 adds a generous payment limitation on crop insurance premium subsidies; bringing crop insurance in line with other taxpayer-supported programs.

• Sens. Begich (D-AK) and Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment #936 ensures taxpayers know that their tax dollars are going only to those who need it.

• Sens. McCain (R-AZ) and Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment #955 eliminates subsidies for ethanol blender pumps within the USDA Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) since corn ethanol has already received over 30 years of taxpayer supports.

• Sens. McCain (R-AZ), Shaheen (D-NH), and others’ amendment #956 eliminates the USDA  catfish inspection office, repeatedly highlighted by GAO as a wasteful duplication.

• Sens. Durbin (D-IL), Coburn (R-OK), and McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment #999 modestly reduces crop insurance premium subsidies for agribusinesses earning over $750,000 annually in adjusted gross income.

• Sen. Coburn’s (R-OK) amendment #1007 limits agribusiness marketing promotion subsidies, increase transparency, and prohibit spending on pet food, cheese awards, animal products, and beer and wine in the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Market Access Program.

• Sen. Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment #1012 removes the prohibition on USDA negotiating money-saving improvements in the federal crop insurance program.

• Sen. Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment #1013 eliminates subsidies for the Harvest Price Option, a common sense approach to reducing unnecessary risk taking and costs in federal crop insurance.

• Sen. Flake’s (R-AZ) amendment #1014 reduces crop insurance premium subsidies for a sector expected to reap record farm profits in 2013.

• Sen. Lee’s (R-UT) amendment #1016 repeals the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP), a program that has suffered from implementation issues and severe cost overruns.

• Sen. McCain’s (R-AZ) amendment #1091 repeals outdated agricultural laws and avoids future Washington manufactured crises.

Again, Taxpayers for Common Sense urges you to vote no on The Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 (S. 954) while supporting common sense measures to rein in the bill’s out-of-control spending on wasteful agricultural entitlements and special interest carve-outs.

For more information, please contact Joshua Sewell of Taxpayers for Common Sense at 202-546-8500 x116, or josh@taxpayer.net.


Ryan Alexander

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