Obama administration issues veto threat of House farm bill

By Agri-Pulse staff

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, June 17, 2013 - The administration issued a veto threat tonight of the House's five-year farm bill (H.R. 1947), largely over the legislation's proposed $20.5 billion cut to the nutrition title, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

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“If the president were presented with H.R. 1947, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill,” the White House said in a statement of administration policy.

The statement said the administration strongly opposes the bill because it would reduce access to food assistance for families and their children, would provide insufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms, and does not provide funding for renewable energy.

“The bill makes unacceptable deep cuts in SNAP, which could increase hunger among millions of Americans who are struggling to make ends meet, including families with children and senior citizens,” the statement said. “The administration believes that Congress should achieve significant budgetary savings to help reduce the deficit without creating hardship for vulnerable families - for example, by reducing crop insurance subsidies.”

The statement said rather than reducing crop insurance subsidies by $11.7 billion over 10 years, as proposed in the president's budget, the bill would increase reference prices for farmers by roughly 45 percent and increase crop insurance subsidies at a cost of nearly $9 billion over 10 years.

The statement said the administration supports enactment of a multi-year farm bill that includes a long-term extension of disaster programs and promotes rural development, preserves a farm safety net, maintains strong nutrition programs, encourages the development of local and regional markets, enhances conservation, supports environmental stewardship, complies with World Trade Organization commitments, advances agricultural research, and provides funding for renewable energy.

“The administration believes that crop insurance payments should be tied to the nation's soil conservation and wetland protection goals,” the statement said. “The legislation should also contribute significantly to deficit reduction, with savings from reforms proposed in the president's budget.”

The statement said the administration looks forward to working with the Congress to reform the P.L. 480 Title II food aid program in order to provide food aid to starving people faster and feed millions of additional people per year at current funding levels.

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