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Agricultural News

Secret Congressional Budget Office Score Shows Secret New Farm Subsidy Program Is a Budget Buster

Thu, 17 Nov 2011 13:53:31 CST

Secret Congressional Budget Office Score Shows Secret New Farm Subsidy Program Is a Budget Buster Environmental Working Group President Ken Cook and Senior Vice President Craig Cox today demanded that the top agriculture committee leaders make public new cost estimates for a five-year farm bill they are drafting behind closed doors and seeking to insert into the “Super Committee” budget-cutting process.

A news media outlet reported today the commodity title of the secret farm bill has been scored by the Congressional Budget Office and the results far exceed the committees’ budget goals for a costly new subsidy entitlement package that will mostly benefit producers of five industrial crops: corn, wheat, soybeans, rice and cotton.

David Rogers of Politico reported,

“Twenty-four hours before, the outlook appeared much darker given fresh cost estimates from the Congressional Budget Office showing that the commodity title in the draft farm bill was at risk of overshooting the spending target by as much as $7 billion to $8 billion over 10 years. The chief culprit was the Senate’s insistence on a more generous structure for a new revenue insurance program for farmers, and as a result, Lucas and Agriculture Committee leadership have been pitted against powerful Senate Democrats from Great Plains wheat country…

…But as the CBO numbers showed, the costs of the revenue program would jump to about $24 billion and put in jeopardy other safety-net provisions if the committee is to meet its spending targets,” Rogers wrote.

“It is time for the top agriculture committees leaders to open up this process and make the CBO scores public, along with the policy and program proposals used to generate it,” Cook said. “The congressional super committee was created to make tough budget choices, but the leaders of the agriculture committees appear to be going in the opposite direction with more lavish subsidy giveaways to mega farms.”

Below is a copy of the letter Cook and EWG Senior Vice President Craig Cox sent to Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS), Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, and Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) and Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Chair and Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee:

November 17, 2011

Senator Debbie Stabenow
Senate Agriculture Committee
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Congressman Frank Lucas
House Agriculture Committee
1301 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Senator Pat Roberts
Ranking Member
Senate Agriculture Committee
328A Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510

Congressman Collin Peterson
Ranking Member
House Agriculture Committee
1305 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Agriculture Committee Leaders,

A report this morning by David Rogers in Politico references a Congressional Budget Office score for the farm bill you are currently developing behind closed doors. Mr. Rogers reports that the commodity proposals you submitted for cost analysis far exceeded the budget goals you have previously announced.

We request that you make the CBO scores public, along with any and all policy and program proposals for any Farm Bill titles that CBO used to generate their budget scores.

Thank you for your consideration.


Ken Cook

Craig Cox
Senior Vice President



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