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Vote Alert

 

NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on the following amendments regarding crop insurance reform

 
May 23, 2013

By Nan Swift

As the Senate considers amendments to S. 954, the Farm Bill, NTU urges all Senators to vote “YES” on the following amendments regarding crop insurance reform. Though these amendments would save taxpayers money and more toward freer markets, Senators are reminded that NTU continues to oppose the underlying bill.

“YES” votes on the following crop insurance amendments will be considered the pro-taxpayer position:

•    #926: Shaheen-Toomey: $50K Crop Insurance Premium Assistance Cap
•    #936: Begich-Flake: Crop Insurance Transparency
•    #953 & 999: Durbin-Coburn & Durbin-Coburn-McCain: 15% Premium Subsidy Reduction
•    #1012: Flake-McCaskill: Strike Prohibition on Taxpayer Savings Summary
•    #1013: Flake: Harvest Price Option Premium Subsidy Prohibition
•    #1014: Flake: S. 446, Crop Insurance Subsidy Reduction Act
•    #1071: Flake: Strike New “Shallow Loss” Crop Insurance Option
•    #1073: Flake: Strike Cotton Shallow Loss Carve Out

1. #926: Shaheen-Toomey: $50K Crop Insurance Premium Assistance Cap: This commonsense cap would ensure that crop insurance premium support is in line with other taxpayer-subsidized programs, steer assistance to those who need it most, and save taxpayers money.
2.  #936: Begich-Flake: Crop Insurance Transparency: This amendment would require USDA to extend the same transparency standards in place for direct payments to individuals or entities who obtain federally subsidized crop insurance. Making this information available to the public is an essential accountability measure.
3.  #953 & #999: Durbin-Coburn & Durbin-Coburn-McCain: 15% Premium Subsidy Reduction: These amendments would reduce taxpayer funded insurance premium subsidies by 15 percent for those earning over $750,000 annually in adjusted gross income. Means-testing is a successful cost-savings measure that ensures resources are targeted toward those who need them most and helps to reduce the out-sized risk burden heavily subsidized crop insurance imposes on taxpayers.
4.  #1012: Flake-McCaskill: Strike Prohibition on Taxpayer Savings Summary: This amendment would permit the USDA Risk Management Agency to pursue significant savings in the event of a renegotiation of the Standard Reinsurance Agreement. The USDA saved taxpayers almost $6 billion through a renegotiation in 2010.
5.  #1013: Flake: Harvest Price Option Premium Subsidy Prohibition: This amendment would prohibit premium subsidies from being paid on any federal crop insurance policy with a harvest price option, which can result in a farmer receiving more revenue than was guaranteed as planting. CBO estimates the amendment could save taxpayers $7.7 billion over ten years and would help to ensure that taxpayer funded subsidies are not propping up risky business practices.
6.  #1014: Flake: S. 446, Crop Insurance Subsidy Reduction Act: This amendment would roll back taxpayer subsidies for federal crop insurance premiums, saving $40.1 billion over 10 years. Currently, taxpayers subsidize over 62% of the crop insurance premiums for agribusinesses. This leaves taxpayers shouldering a majority of the risk – like other businesses, farmers should have more skin in the game.
7.  #1071: Flake: Strike New “Shallow Loss” Crop Insurance Option: While taxpayers are glad to see direct payments eliminated, NTU urges Congress not to simply- replace this bad policy with a new entitlement program that could end up costing taxpayers even more should commodity prices return to average. Shallow Loss coverage is already available via private insurance and it is not in taxpayers’ best interests to prop up crop payouts. This amendment would save taxpayers $2.2 billion over 10 years.
8.  #1073: Flake: Strike Cotton Shallow Loss Carve Out: For the same reasons that taxpayers should not fund shallow loss crop insurance broadly, taxpayers should not guarantee the income of specific groups of farmers. Under the current bill, taxpayers will subsidize 80 percent of cotton growers’ premiums, undermining prudent cotton producing practices. Striking the Stacked Income Protection Plan would save taxpayers $3.7 billion over 10 years.
     
At a time of record-high farm profits and record-high federal deficits, Senators should pursue an all-of-the-above approach to finding savings, not wasting more taxpayer dollars on special-interest carve-outs. Given our nation’s fiscal challenges, NTU urges Senators to support these commonsense amendments that would help pare back the costly and unnecessary subsidies agribusiness currently enjoys.   

Roll call votes on the above amendments to S. 954 will be included in our annual Rating of Congress.