Dear Chairwoman Murray and Chairman Hensarling
We are writing to express our concern with reports that the House and Senate Agriculture Committees intend to use the expedited legislative process of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to authorize new Farm Bill programs and entitlements outside of regular order. As part of the Deficit Reduction process, the Agriculture Committees are responsible for reviewing existing programs and identifying where the Congress can find savings. However, we are greatly troubled by any attempt to use the Joint Select Committee to authorize costly new mandatory programs authorize costly new mandatory programs without adequate Congressional review.
As you know, Congress charged the Joint Select Committee with the task of reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion between 2012 and 2021 and provided for tis legislative recommendations to be brought to the floor of both House and Senate for expedited consideration. Furthermore, its recommendations are not subject to amendment or filibuster. These rules are prudent to dull the pain of politically contentious but fiscally responsible measures. Yet, its has become apparent that some believe they can create new programs and entitlements with limited Congressional scrutiny and input.
We urge the Joint Select Committee to resist proposals thought would go beyond its mandate of deficit reduction and authorize new, complicated agricultural programs that have not been the subject of Congressional review. The Joint Select Committee should instead act to find efficiencies within existing programs. If the Agricultural Committees believe that these cuts will require a fundamental redesign of agricultural programs, those Committees can and should move legislation through regular order.
Rep. Ron Kind Rep. Joseph Pitts
Rep. Earl Blumenauer Rep. John Campbell
Rep. Donna Christensen Rep. Steve Cohen
Rep. Peter DeFazio Rep. Keith Ellison
Rep. Jeff Flake Rep. Paul Grijalva
Rep. Rush Holt Rep. Hank Johnson
Rep. Barbara Lee Rep. John Lewis
Rep. Tom McClintock Rep. Gwen Moore
Rep. Jim Moran Rep. Mick Mulvaney
Rep. John Olver Rep. Ron Paul
Rep. Tom Petri Rep. Adam Smith
Rep. Jackie Speier Rep. Pete Stark
Rep. Bennie G Thompson Rep. Edolphus Towns
Rep. Henry Waxman