PROVIDING FOR CONSIDERATION OF CONFERENCE REPORT ON H.R. 2419, FOOD, CONSERVATION, AND ENERGY ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - May 14, 2008)
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Mr. KIND. Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
I thank my friend and colleague for yielding me a little bit of time to speak on his motion.
There is one, I think, serious concern that many of us who have been advocating reform under the commodity title, the so-called commodity subsidy programs, and that is what was done with the two subsidy programs now where funding currently isn't going out. And the reason it is not going out under the loan deficiency program and the counter cyclical program is because market prices are high.
That's a good thing, because farm income is good, debt to asset ratio has never been better in farm country.
But what this bill proposes to do, instead of holding those programs constant, they are actually increasing the loan rate under the loan deficiency program and the target price under the countercyclical program, which means that if things do turn south in farm country, if prices do drop--and we know how cyclical agriculture can be, and these are safety net programs--those programs will trigger much sooner and at a much greater expense than what I fear is being accounted for right now in this bill.
That, I think, speaks to the unfunded mandate concern that the gentleman from Arizona and myself, and others included, have in regards to the so-called reforms that we are just not seeing under the commodity title, not when they go in the opposite direction with the LDP and the countercyclical programs by dialing up the loan rate and the target prices of those two programs and triggering them at a much earlier time and at a much greater expense for the taxpayers of this country.
There is a whole lot of other reform that we felt were justifiable and reasonable under the commodity title.
Quite frankly, we don't get there. In fact, if you look at the payment limitation caps that exist under the direct payments, it would only affect two-tenths of 1 percent of farmers in this country, hardly the type of reform we would like to see.
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