House spending panel approves Flake farm subsidy amendments

The House Appropriations Committee approved by voice vote on Tuesday evening a Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., amendment that effectively bans payment of crop subsidies to anyone making more than $250,000 per year. The current limit is $500,000 in adjusted gross income (AGI) from off-farm sources or $750,000 in on-farm AGI. The $750,000 limit is an extravagance that only makes sense to people inside the Beltway, Flake said. The savings generated by tighter payment limits, a change that has also been proposed by the Obama Administration, would be dedicated to debt retirement, Flake said.

The committee also approved another Flake amendment to shift more than $140 million in cotton subsidies from U.S. farmers to Brazilian interests. Rep. Flake confirmed in a break in the action that the funds would come from direct payments to upland cotton farmers. Committee members voted later on Tuesday to shift $147 million originally designated for payment to Brazil to the Women’s Infants and Children’s feeding program.

As he did at his Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee’s markup on May 24, chairman Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) introduced the bill – $17.25 billion in discretionary spending and $108.2 billion in mandatory spending, for a total of $125.5 billion – as vital to reining in the federal deficit. The $17.25 billion figure is $2.7 billion, or 14%, below the FY 2011 enacted level, and $5.0 billion, or 23%, below President Obama’s request. The full committee approved the spending bill by voice vote just before 9:00 p.m. The measure now moves to the full House, where it is expected to pass with little change.

Many farm groups oppose the bill, generally saying it cuts too much too quickly, and are already working on an “improved” version of the funding measure in the U.S. Senate. The National Farmers Union noted May 27 that agriculture’s budget will have been cut 26% in two years if the House bill is enacted. The group further decried language preventing implementation of the proposed Grain Inspection Packers and Stockyards Administration rule, which it says is necessary to restore competition to the livestock and poultry industry per the 2008 Farm Bill.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition has decried the bill’s treatment of conservation programs, which it says will be cut by more than $1 billion. That follows the $500 million cut made by the continuing resolution passed in April. “The cuts would be further magnified in the multi-year base funding Congress has to work with for the 2012 Farm Bill, making passage of such a bill difficult if not impossible,” the group said.

Of his first amendment, Flake said farm subsidies entered “the realm of the absurd” after the World Trade Organization ruled against U.S. cotton subsidies. Rather than cut domestic payments, the U.S. government decided to pay Brazil $147 million annually to subsidize its own cotton. The payment has come from accounts outside the domestic cotton subsidy program, but that would change and come from direct payments under Flake’s amendment.

More Advocacy Issues

Reconciliation Package Update

September 14th, 2021

See the update below for a comprehensive review of the reconciliation process. Update Here

Read More
 

On August 11th, ACSA leaders including Buddy Allen of American Cotton Shippers Association, Michael Symonanis of Allenberg Cotton Co., Donna Lemm of IMC Companies, and Neely Mallory of Mallory Alexander International Logistics participated in a Federal Maritime Commission Memphis Supply Chain Stakeholder Meeting led by Commissioner Rebecca Dye. Over 100 stakeholders participated in the meeting […]

Read More
 

Yesterday, ACSA co-signed a letter to Representatives John Garamendi (D-CA) and Dusty Johnson (R-SD) endorsing the Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2021 (OSRA21). The Act focuses on unreasonable detention and demurrage charges, and carrier rejection of U.S. export cargo. We believe that addressing these concerns will assist U.S. exports such as cotton to remain competitive […]

Read More
 

On July 23rd, Representatives Jim Costa, Salud Carbajal, Jimmy Panetta, Tom O’Halleran, John Garamendi, and Ann Kirkpatrick wrote a letter to Secretary Vilsack asking him to assistant cotton merchandisers who have experienced significant losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The letter states that not only did cotton experience a huge downturn in consumption during the […]

Read More
 

Yesterday, Representative David Scott (D-GA), Chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture, Representative Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, and Senator Raphael Warnock (D-GA), the sole cotton state Democrat on the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry wrote a letter to Secretary […]

Read More
 

Yesterday, the House Transportation Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transportation held a hearing entitled “Impacts of Shipping Container Shortages, Delays, and Increased Demand on the North American Supply Chain.”  The hearing featured two panels: the first panel included Federal Maritime Commission (FMC or Commission) Chairman Daniel Maffei and Commissioner Rebecca Dye, and the second […]

Read More