Saturday, June 11, 2011

Just in from Washington

Ag Appropriations Bill Includes Problematic Amendments

Washington--The full House is expected to take up the fiscal year 2012 agricultural appropriations bill as early as next week. The version passed last week by the House Appropriations Committee includes several provisions AFBF considers problematic.

Among them is an amendment to lower the adjusted gross income test to $250,000, limiting farm program payments to producers. Farm Bureau policy opposes means testing for government farm programs.

Another is an amendment to secure the $147 million annual payment to Brazil under the U.S. settlement of the World Trade Organization cotton case from cuts in the cotton direct payment program. A third is an amendment that prohibits any agricultural appropriations from being used to make payments under the U.S. settlement with Brazil and uses the “savings” of that $147 million in the cotton case to fund the Women, Infants and Children’s program.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) intends to go to the Rules Committee next Monday to strip those three provisions from the bill. AFBF believes he will be successful in convincing the Rules Committee that those amendments are not germane.

AFBF also believes Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) will offer two alternatives on the House floor to the payment limit amendment and the Brazil cotton case amendment if Lucas is successful at the Rules Committee.

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