A little-known slush fund at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has become a go-to funding source for billions of dollars of abusive spending in the last few administrations, Democrat and Republican alike. Currently, the Biden administration is improperly using it to help carry out its climate agenda.
The 90-year-old program, called the Commodity Credit Corporation, is an annual $30 billion funding mechanism for various farm bill programs like price support and conservation programs.
Among the problems with the Commodity Credit Corporation is the excessive discretion that the secretary of agriculture has in spending any undesignated money, which can be around $15 billion in a typical year.
Any spending restraint first began to crumble during the Obama administration. Congress rightly responded from 2012-2017 by restricting the use of that discretionary authority through policy riders in spending bills.
Unfortunately, the spending abuse increased during the Trump administration. In 2018 and 2019, the administration used the discretionary power to spend $28 billion in “trade aid” for farmers to offset the effect of retaliatory tariffs other nations imposed on U.S. goods that they imported.
At the same time, Congress dropped the longstanding restrictions on the spending. This set a terrible precedent, giving a green light for administrations to use the money as a slush fund to spend billions of dollars as they deem fit.
Sure enough, the Biden administration is now using the funding source to spend $3.1 billion to push dubious “climate-smart” agricultural practices through a program it created out of whole cloth called “Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities.”
Tyson Foods alone received a cool $152 million from the program. This is likely just the start of much greater climate spending by the administration from the slush fund.
Even with the Commodity Credit Corporation’s broad discretion, the Biden administration doesn’t have authority for this climate program. Regarding environmental programs, the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act expressly states that the funds can only be used to “[c]arry out conservation or environmental programs authorized by law.” The climate program hasn’t been authorized by law.
So, how has the administration justified spending billions without explicit authorization? It hasn’t even bothered to address it.
Read the full article on The Daily Signal.