FarmPolicy

January 26, 2020

Farm Bill; and the Ag Economy

Farm Bill- Sugar

DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “A push in the U.S. Senate to repeal current sugar policies failed again on Wednesday as senators moved ahead with votes on amendments.

“Senators seeking to overhaul sugar policies argued in vain that food-processing and confectionary jobs are lost to Canada because of import restrictions and tariffs that protect a small number of domestic sugar growers. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., the lead sponsor of the amendment, argued that sugar was the only commodity in the farm bill that wasn’t seeing reforms.

“‘Sugar remains the most tightly controlled commodity market in this country,’ Shaheen said.”

A video replay of arguments in favor of the amendment from Sens. Shaheen and Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) made yesterday on the Senate floor can be seen here and here.  In addition, the American Sugar Alliance released a short video outlining arguments supporting current policy principles.

On a roll call vote, the Shaheen reform measure (amendment #925) to change the sugar program was not agreed to by a vote of 44-54.

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Sen. Toomey Urges Sugar Reform On The Senate Floor

Categories: Farm Bill

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Chairwoman Stabenow Explains Policy Link Between Conservation / Crop Insurance

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Ag. Comm. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) discussed the link between conservation compliance and federal crop insurance.

A video replay of Chairwoman Stabenow’s full remarks is available here, while the Senator’s remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below.

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I want to talk specifically today about the work we’re doing in the Conservation title of the Farm Bill. This is about jobs: Healthy wildlife habitats and clean, fishable waters are not only good for our environment, but they also support hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation that benefits our economy and creates jobs.

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Sen. Durbin Talks Crop Insurance

Categories: Farm Bill

Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Il) talked at length today on the Senate floor about an amendment to the Farm Bill which focuses on federal support for the crop insurance program.

A transcript of the Senator’s remarks, from the Congressional Record, can be viewed here.

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Sens. Inhofe, Stabenow Discuss SNAP Amendment to the Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) and Sen. Ag. Comm. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) disscused an amendment to the Farm Bill regarding the SNAP program.

A transcript of this discussion, from the Congressional Record, is available here.

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Video: Sen. Inhofe Discusses Amendment to Block Grant SNAP

Categories: Farm Bill

Today on the Senate floor, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) discussed an amendment to the Farm Bill regarding the SNAP program.

A transcript of Sen. Inhofe’s remarks, from the Congressional Record, is available here.

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Video: Sen. Shaheen Discusses Sugar Amendment

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) discussed an amendment to the Farm Bill that would change some aspects of U.S. sugar policy.

Sen. Shaheen noted that the reforms contained in the amendment would not eliminate the safety net for sugar producers.

American Sugar Alliance Video- Sugar Policy Perspective

Categories: Farm Bill

From the American Sugar Alliance: Sugar & America’s Food Security – A Free Market Approach:

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Video- Rep. McGovern Discusses SNAP, House Farm Bill

Categories: Farm Bill

On the House floor today, Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.), a member of the House Ag. Committee, discussed the SNAP program (food stamps) and the Committee passed Farm Bill, which contains approximately $20 billion in cuts to the program.

The House is expected to take up the Farm Bill in June, policy observers have noted that nutrition funding, which is the largest component of Farm Bill spending, will be contentious issue in the floor debate.

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Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Immigration; and, CFTC

Farm Bill

A large number of amendments have been filed to the 2013 Farm Bill (S.954).  Yesterday, senators discussed the broad based legislation for a second day on the Senate floor, while considering four of the amendments to the measure.

Two of the amendments passed easily.  An update yesterday afternoon at the Senate Democrats Online discussed the two amendments, one that was proposed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) (amendment #919 regarding Indian tribes – land and soil conservation programs) and the other by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) (amendment #945, as modified eligibility criteria for agriculture irrigation assistance).

And Ramsey Cox reported yesterday at The Hill’s Floor Action Blog that, “The Senate began amendment work Tuesday on a five-year farm bill, passing the first amendment with broad bipartisan support.

“The Senate voted 87-8 to accept an amendment introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Her amendment would allow Indian tribes to participate in soil and water conservation programs…[A]fter the vote on Cantwell’s amendment, the Senate also approved Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) amendment, which aims to clarify the eligibility criteria for those who qualify for agriculture irrigation assistance. His amendment was passed by voice vote.”

In contrast, two separate amendments that were related to the politically controversial nutrition program, which is the largest component of Farm Bill spending, both failed yesterday.

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Video: Sen. Roberts Discusses SNAP Program

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kans.) discussed an amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill relating to the SNAP program (food stamps).

Sen. Roberts noted that the House Ag. Comm. passed Farm Bill contained over $20 billion in cuts to the federal program while the Senate Ag. Comm. version of the bill included approximately $4 billion in cuts. His amendment, which he discussed in some detail, what have cut some aspects of the SNAP program by a total of $30 billion.

A related tweet from Sen. Roberts on this issue:

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Video: Sen. Heitkamp Highlights Sugar Program

Categories: Farm Bill

On the Senate floor today, Senate Ag. Committee Member Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) discussed aspects of the sugar program during the debate on the 2013 Farm Bill.

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Video: Sen. Gillbrand Discusses SNAP on Senate Floor

Categories: Farm Bill

On Tuesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), a member of the Ag. Committee, discussed the importance of the SNAP program (food stamps).

The Farm Bill passed out of the Ag. Comm. included approximately $4 billion in cuts to the program. Sen. Gillibrand maintained that the program should not be subject to any cuts in the farm legislation.

A portion of her remarks are included below.

After the vote on her amendment, Sen. Gillibrand tweeted:

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Farm Bill; and the Ag Economy

Farm Bill

Yesterday afternoon, the Senate proceeded to consider the Farm Bill (S.954).

“Democrats and Republicans disagree on many things. So it’s really remarkable and encouraging to see how well Senators Stabenow and Senator Cochran — the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee — worked together to bring the agriculture jobs bill to the floor. Their work has been exemplary — some would say old-fashioned — the way things used to be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said yesterday.

“In an effort to expedite the floor process, the committee even included many of the amendments that were adopted last year, when the Senate considered and passed a farm bill. I hope their cooperative spirit guides our work on this important legislation. American farmers are counting on us. So is the economy,” Leader Reid noted; while adding that, “But to keep American farms strong, Congress must pass a strong farm bill.”

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Video: Sen. Brown Highlights Farm Bill, SNAP on Senate Floor

Categories: Farm Bill

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) discussed Farm Bill issues on the Senate floor on Monday.

In part, Sen. Brown noted that, “People who are going to receive federally subsidized crop insurance need to show they are meeting basic conservation requirements. Again, the days of subsidies without conditions and subsidies without responsibility are over. It is an example of what can happen when groups with different perspectives— the commodities farmers and the conservationists -come together to listen to each other. By relinking crop insurance subsidies with good environmental practices, this bill makes our farm safety net more defensible and protects our natural resources.”

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Sen. Cochran Addresses 2013 Farm Bill on Senate Floor

Categories: Farm Bill

On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) discussed the Farm Bill on the Senate floor.

In part, Sen. Cochran noted that, “The committee has crafted reforms in the nutrition title to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These are big challenges, and these challenges have been met with a recognition that there are people who need the support of programs such as this—schoolchildren who are attending school and getting the benefit of a reduced price and, in some cases, free meals at school. This has made major contributions to the quality of work and the degree and level of education that children are able to absorb and benefit from, and it is tied to these programs.”

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