Action Accomplished...You Made a Difference
We have some good news to report. A deal was negotiated between House Agriculture Leadership and House Leadership just hours ago to reverse significant cuts ($3 billion) to the Federal Crop Insurance Program. As many of you know, these cuts are included in the debt ceiling/budget deal reached earlier in the week by the White House and Congressional leaders. The House and Senate are passing this package over the next few days. The cuts are to be reversed in an upcoming omnibus funding package that will be considered in December.
Stripping the crop provision from the current package would have unwound the entire bill and as an alternative the House Agriculture Committee Leadership negotiated an agreement with House Leadership that the cuts be stripped later in the omnibus package. We are told that essentially it will be like this cut "never happened." It is important to note that if any funding gaps need to be filled because of the stripping of this provision, the word is they will not be offset from cuts within the Agriculture Committee's jurisdiction. The Committee has said that Leadership will formally announce this deal soon.
The National IIABA's Lobbyist would also like to mention that House Agriculture Committee staff praised the Big "I"s grassroots response to this issue and said that we produced one of the most impressive grassroots turnouts they have seen in quite some time. Thanks to all who engaged in our "call to action" and please know that we may still need you to engage on this issue as Congress considers the omnibus in early December.
Below is a press release issued from both House Agriculture Chairman Conaway and Ranking Member Peterson. They were true champions for independent agents in addition to many other Members of Congress including Kansas Senator Pat Roberts who kept the pressure up in the Senate.
Again, Thank You to all of the MIIAB Agents who called their representatives.
MIIAB Executive VP
House Agriculture Committee Leaders Support Agreement to Avoid Cuts to Crop Insurance
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 we have 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."