Washington, DC – Today, the Senate passed a trillion dollar farm bill that increases special interest subsidies for one of the most profitable sectors of our economy while turning a blind eye to our country’s more than $17 trillion national debt. The Agricultural Act of 2014 expands the government’s role in agriculture, picks winners and losers, hides the names of lawmakers and Cabinet Secretaries receiving taxpayer subsidies, and guts provisions to rein in subsidies to city dwellers and other non-farmers.
With new, costly subsidies for everything from alfalfa to sheep and sushi rice, this nearly trillion dollar bill is not a legitimate bipartisan effort to rein in deficits but a Grade A example of wasteful Washington log-rolling. It is expected to cost 50 percent more than the last farm bill, will increase the deficit in Fiscal Year 2014, and puts off nearly two-thirds of the paltry $16.6 billion in deficit reduction until after Fiscal Year 2018, when this bill will have expired. Because the Agricultural Act of 2014 continues outdated direct payment subsidies under another name (“transition assistance”), creates new agribusiness income entitlements, and increases spending on the unlimited crop insurance income entitlement, it should have been rejected outright.
Taxpayers deserve a more cost-effective, transparent, accountable, and responsive farm safety net. Taxpayers cannot afford for Congress to put off the hard decisions for yet another five years.