Groups Urge Boehner To Hold Firm And Not Give In To Agricultural Special Interests

CEI joined 11 other groups in a letter today to House Speaker John Boehner urging him not to give in to special interest pressure to push through the bloated 2012 farm bill.  Agricultural interests and their cheerleader USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack are using the current drought as a pretext to bring the The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act (FARRM) to a quick vote.  The bill, passed by the House Agriculture Committee, has a $957 billion price tag.

The coalition letter noted that most farmers currently can take advantage of a highly subsidized safety net of crop insurance and thus there’s no need to rush through the bloated and flawed FARRM bill.

Agriculture already has a more than adequate safety net in the gold-plated federal crop insurance program in which taxpayers pick up, on average, 62% of the premium costs for crop insurance. These policies allow businesses to guarantee up to 85% of their expected revenue. Crop insurance cost taxpayers more than $11 billion last year.

In the letter, the groups pointed out that the bill should have been used to cut back on outdated and costly programs–not add to them:

The bill should have been used as an opportunity to save taxpayers billions while reducing the manipulative role of the federal government in the business decisions of a vital sector of the American economy. Instead, the Committee bill obligates nearly 60% more than the last Farm Bill, creates three new taxpayer-paid “shallow loss” programs, and does nothing to rein in, and in fact expands, taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance.