House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway and Ranking Member Collin Peterson issued the following statements after announcing an agreement to avoid the cuts to crop insurance which are included in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015 scheduled for a vote later today.
Chairman Conaway said, "I want to thank my colleagues who have made it very clear over the last 24 hours that the attempt to gut crop insurance in the budget agreement was not acceptable. Our nation's farmers and ranchers did their part in reigning in our nation's debt in the 2014 farm bill, saving an estimated $23 billion. It is imperative that we do not undermine their trust by attacking the primary tool they use to manage the tremendous risks involved in producing food and fiber.
"Leadership has heeded our concerns by agreeing to completely reverse this disastrous provision in the upcoming omnibus. Crop insurance is working as intended, and private industry deserves to be lauded, not thrown under the bus. I take our leadership at their word when they committed to me and many of my colleagues that we will eliminate these harmful provisions in the not-so-distant future, which is why I will vote in support of the budget agreement today. I encourage my rural-minded colleagues to follow suit and put their support behind this agreement by passing the budget deal on the floor today. While not the easiest path forward, this is a win for rural America and should be viewed as such.
"I will continue fighting against policies that hurt our farmers and ranchers, and I am thankful to leadership for working with us to avoid these harmful cuts."
Ranking Member Collin Peterson said, "I'm pleased that wehave an agreement to fix the crop insurance cuts and not open the farm bill. We have assurances that the cuts will be removed and the farm bill will not be raided. We produced a fiscally responsible and bipartisan farm bill in 2014 that saved $23 billion. We've done our part. I can now support the Budget Agreement with these assurances."
This article was re-printed with the permission of California Women for Agriculture. It appeared in the October 29, 2015 edition of the CWA eHarvest News.