Statement by Taxpayers for Common Sense president Ms. Ryan Alexander on the Senate Farm Bill Passage:
Today’s passage of the $867 billion farm bill is a missed opportunity for taxpayers.
In an increasingly globalized, consumer-oriented, and technology-driven 21stcentury economy, federal policy must adapt. Now is the time to begin reorienting Washington to better serve the interests of all farmers and ranchers, consumers that use agricultural goods, communities impacted by agricultural production, and federal taxpayers that are footing the bill.
Yet the farm bill the Senate passed continues Washington’s outsized role in picking winners and losers. It continues to shower favored commodities with billions of dollars in subsidies through so-called shallow loss programs and does nothing to rein in excess spending in the federal crop insurance program. And it does nothing to rein in our nation’s glaring $21 trillion debt.
Elements of the bill do receive our endorsement. Significant narrowing of the “actively engaged in farming” loophole in Title 1 to exclude individuals not working on the farm, fixes to crop insurance regulatory burdens that currently discourage producers from undertaking conservation practices proven to reduce their risks, and an emphasis on improved data collection for many programs, are all an improvement from the status quo.
We believe that it is long overdue to place faith in American farmers and treat them with the
respect they deserve as sophisticated and innovative business leaders. Farmers are more than capable of competing in the marketplace if given the opportunity. There were common sense amendments that could have improved the bill for taxpayers, but were sacrificed on the altar of getting out of town for recess.
As the House and Senate will soon move to reconcile the differences in their bills, we encourage lawmakers to reorient federal policy to better serve the interests of the entire agriculture sector, consumers that use agricultural goods, communities impacted by agricultural production, and federal taxpayers footing the bill.
Ryan Alexander, President