DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “Larger farmers would have to pay higher crop-insurance premiums under an amendment added to the Senate version of the farm bill on Thursday.
“Repeating a provision they introduced last year, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., got senators to back a plan that would lower the premium subsidy for farmers making more than $750,000 adjusted gross income. The vote was 59-33 despite opposition from leaders on the Senate Agriculture Committee.”
Mr. Clayton explained that, “Under the Durbin-Coburn provision, those farmers making more than $750,000 would see their premium subsidy lowered from 62% to 47%.
“Durbin and Coburn said their amendment would affect about 20,000 farmers and save $1 billion over 10 years. They also each noted that roughly 4% of farmers account for nearly 33% of all the premium support for the federal government. Those figures come from a Government Accounting Office report last year.”
A video replay of the discussion between Sens. Durbin, Coburn and Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.), which preceded the vote on the amendment, can be viewed here. In the clip, each lawmaker made their respective arguments for supporting (Durbin, Coburn) the proposal, or alternatively, opposing (Stabenow) the amendment.
DTN Ag Policy Editor Chris Clayton reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “A push in the U.S. Senate to repeal current sugar policiesfailed 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.