Republican Congressman Jeff Flake, who represents Arizona's Sixth District, today introduced The Crop Insurance Subsidy Reduction Act (H.R. 6098) which would significantly reduce the amount of taxpayer dollars used to subsidize crop insurance. H.R. 6098 returns federal crop insurance premium subsidies to their pre-Agricultural Risk Protection Act (ARPA) levels. ARPA was passed in 2000.
While legislation to reauthorize the Farm Bill introduced in the House that is being marked-up today ends some wasteful programs, it unfortunately uses some of the saving to actually create new programs and expands crop insurance subsidies. Rather than creating new subsidies for so-called "shallow loss" programs, Congress ought to make deeper cuts in farm subsidies in this Farm Bill, like those provided for in H.R. 6098.
Taxpayers spent $7.4 billion last year on federal crop and revenue insurance premium subsidies for farmers, up from $1.3 billion in 2000. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that, under existing law, the federal crop insurance program will cost taxpayers roughly $90 billion over the next ten years, with two-thirds of that being premium subsidies for farmers.
"Given our country's fiscal crisis, we simply can't afford irresponsible crop insurance subsidies, particularly given the strength of the agriculture sector," said Flake. "This Farm Bill reauthorization is an opportunity to put federal farm policy on a fiscally sustainable path. Congress must resist the temptation to create new subsidy programs."