ISSUE UPDATE Senate Farm Bill

first_imgThe Senate resumed consideration of the farm bill on Thursday. There are no scheduled votes at this time.Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., are trying to work out differences on remaining amendments, including the proposal by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., to prohibit trade promotion program funding of entities owned by the Cuban military.On Wednesday, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., tried to add an amendment that would restrict President Donald Trump’s ability to impose tariffs based on national security concerns, as he has with steel and aluminum, but Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, blocked it. Roberts and Stabenow both opposed adding the tariff amendment to the farm bill.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has filed cloture on the farm bill. Under the cloture process, a vote on the final bill could be held one hour after the Senate convenes on Friday. However, Senators could decide to yield time and hold the vote early, especially with the July 4 Congressional break looming. Or they could fail to reach agreement and take the bill back up after the break.While many amendments have been filed, it is likely that only a handful will be considered for votes. Here are amendments that the American Soybean Association (ASA) is following and ASA’s position on each:Durbin – Grassley #3103.  OPPOSEThis amendment would reduce crop insurance premium subsidies for producers with Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) of more than $700,000 by 15 percentage points for all buy up polices beyond catastrophic coverage, lowering it from an average of 62 percent to 47 percent. The $700,000 limit matches the AGI threshold for Title 1 commodity programs in the Committee bill.Flake – Shaheen #3138. OPPOSEThis amendment would put in place a cap of $125,000 for the premium discount a producer or entity can receive in one year.Lankford #3315. OPPOSEThis amendment would change MAP’s mandatory funding through CCC to discretionary funding, which would have to be approved by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.(ASA note: this amendment would make it uncertain whether MAP would ever be funded at its current level, let alone at a higher level.)Lee – Booker #3074. OPPOSEThis amendment would impose limitations on national checkoffs, including: (1) prohibiting checkoff boards from contracting for checkoff program activities with entities that lobby on issues related to agriculture; (2) requiring checkoff boards to publish and make public all budgets and disbursements of funds immediately upon approval of the Secretary; and, (3) requiring (i) periodic audits and resulting reports by the USDA Inspector General’s office at least every 5 years to determine each checkoff program’s compliance with the provisions of the amendment, and (ii) periodic audits by the U.S. Comptroller General to assess the actions taken by the boards to ensure compliance.Lee #3250. OPPOSEThis amendment would make assessments under checkoff programs voluntary.last_img

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