House ag committee leaders say bill will save nearly $40 billion

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson released a discussion draft of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on May 10. The act is a bipartisan bill that cuts spending, reduces the size of government and makes common-sense reforms to policy, its creators say.

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas and Ranking Member Collin Peterson released a discussion draft of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on May 10. The act is a bipartisan bill that cuts spending, reduces the size of government and makes common-sense reforms to policy, its creators say.

The bill is the product of a multi-year process that included auditing for effectiveness and efficiency every single policy under the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee.

"I'm pleased to release this bipartisan legislation with my friend and colleague Collin Peterson. It's a responsible and balanced bill that addresses Americans' concerns about federal spending and reforms farm and nutrition policy to improve efficiency and accountability. We will advance our bill in the committee next week and then begin preparing for full House consideration this summer,"  said Lucas.    

"The discussion draft the Chairman and I released today sets us on a path to finally completing a five-year farm bill. It closely resembles the bipartisan bill passed by the Agriculture Committee last summer, including a common-sense commodity title that will work for all producers, much-needed reforms to dairy programs and continued support for the sugar program. The bill also builds on the investments the 2008 Farm Bill made to fruits and vegetables, farmers markets and local food systems. While I do believe that there are more responsible ways to reform nutrition programs, the bottom line is that this is the first step in the process and it is past time to pass a five-year farm bill," said Peterson.

The text of the bill can be found here.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Saving nearly $40 billion in mandatory funds, including the immediate sequestration of $6 billion. 
  • Repealing or consolidating more than 100 programs. 
  • Elmination of direct payments, which farmers received regardless of market conditions. 
  • Streamlining and reform of commodity policy saving nearly $14 billion while also giving producers a choice in how best to manage risk. 
  • Inclusion of the first reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program since the Welfare Reform Act of 1996 saving more than $20 billion. 
  • Consolidation of  23 conservation programs into 13, improving program delivery to producers and saving more than $6 billion. 
  • Building on previous investments to fruit and vegetable production, farmers markets, and local food systems. 
  • Inclusion of several regulatory relief measures to help mitigate burdens farmers, ranchers, and rural communities face. 

The House Agriculture Committee will conduct its next meeting on May 15. 

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