House releases farm bill draft
July 6, 2012 3:05 PM
On Thursday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas, R-Okla., and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., released a discussion draft of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM), essentially its version of the 2012 Farm Bill.
The two representative say FARRM is a bipartisan bill that “saves taxpayers billions, reduces the nation's deficit, and repeals outdated policies while reforming, streamlining, and consolidating others.” It does cut $35 billion in related programs.
Lucas and Peterson say the draft is the product of a two-year process that looked at all policies under the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Agriculture. “The legislation cuts spending, reduces the size of government, and makes common-sense reforms to agricultural policy,” according to a House release.
"Our efforts over the past two years have resulted in reform-minded, fiscally responsible policy that is equitable for farmers and ranchers in all regions and will lead to improved program delivery,” Lucas says. “This bill is an investment in production agriculture and rural America. Those of us in the agriculture community are quick to point out that our producers provide us with the safest, most abundant, most affordable food and fiber supply in the history of the world. This legislation is a commitment to maintaining that tradition."
The Senate has passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, and will have to wait for the House to do the same before the legislation will move to the joint committee for a final workup. The 2008 Farm Bill is set to expire as of Sept. 30.
Peterson says Congress needs to complete work on the 2012 Farm Bill before the current bill expires to safeguard one of the few bright spots of the fragile U.S. economy. “The legislation released today brings us yet another step closer to achieving this goal. We have a commodity title in place that will work for all parts of the country,” he says. “There will be challenges ahead, but we will pass the bill out of Committee next week and, if the House leadership gets this right and brings the bill to the floor, we will ultimately finish the bill in September.”
- Saves more than $35 billion in mandatory funding.
- Repeals or consolidates more than 100 programs.
- Eliminates direct payments, streamlines and reforms commodity policy that saves taxpayers more than $14 billion.
- Improves program integrity and accountability in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that saves taxpayers more than $16 billion.
- Consolidates 23 conservation programs into 13, which improves program delivery to producers and saves taxpayers more than $6 billion.
- Provides regulatory relief, including H.R. 872, to mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face.