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Letter of Opposition: Short-Term Farm Bill Extension

July 31, 2012 J

Dear Representatives:

On behalf of more than 2.1 million Americans for Prosperity activists in all 50 states, I am writing to express our strong opposition a one-year extension of current farm law. I encourage you to give the full Farm Bill the scrutiny it requires, instead of rushing to extend current law two months before its expiration.

With half the country in drought, special interests are renewing their call to pass a Farm Bill or extend current law. This is mere rhetoric, as it overlooks the fact that the current government-sponsored crop insurance will compensate farmers for losses incurred in the drought.

The bill would extend myriad wasteful programs that have more to do with placating special interests than providing relief to drought-ridden farmers. For example, it would continue direct payments, price supports for certain commodities and payments to the Brazilian Cotton Institute. The extension also fails to make changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which makes up nearly 80 percent of farm bill spending, and is in dire need of reform.

According to a preliminary Congressional Budget Office report, the one-year extension will break the Budget Control Act’s spending caps in FY2013. It’s wrong for representatives to talk tough on spending, cut a deal to issue more debt and then enact policies to break the agreement. AFP is also concerned that the one-year extension would be used to negotiate a bigger, broader deal in conference with the trillion-dollar Senate-passed version. If Congress follows this path, the full House will be prevented from having a floor debate to consider significant cuts and much-needed reforms to both food stamps and farm subsidies.

Americans for Prosperity strongly opposes the short-term extension of federal agricultural programs. If a conference report arises as a result of this process and it does not enact much-needed reforms to spending and subsidy programs, AFP intends to issue a key vote against the conference report. We will include this vote in our congressional scorecard.

Sincerely,

James Valvo
Director of Policy
Americans for Prosperity

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