Democrats plan to include CCC ‘anomaly’ as Republicans press case
Key Democrats signaled today that the House version of the continuing resolution to fund the government through most of November will contain a provision known as an anomaly to allow the Agriculture Department to make trade aid payments to farmers through the Commodity Credit Corporation.
House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., whose committee must hold a hearing on the bill before it goes to the House floor, told reporters today that the issue “is going to be resolved.”
Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, who is a member of the House Agriculture Committee and the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, told The Hagstrom Report that she believes the provision allowing the flow of funds will be in the CR.
Pingree is known for favoring organics and local agriculture production over the big commodity and livestock operations that get most of the aid to make up for the loss of exports sales during the trade war that began with President Donald Trump’s imposition of tariffs on Chinese products.
But she said that the decision by House Appropriations Committee Chair Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., to leave the provision allowing the CCC to continue spending money after the fiscal year ends on September 30 “puts people in a difficult position. It’s hard to go against the farmers.”
Key House Agriculture Committee Democrats and freshmen Democratic Reps. Angie Craig of Minnesota and Cindy Axne of Iowa have already called for the provision to be included.
But today Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Hoeven, R-N.D., led Republican members of the Senate Appropriations Committee in pressing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Lowey “to support the nation’s farmers and ranchers and ensure that Market Facilitation Program (MFP) payments for producers are not blocked or delayed in the House of Representatives’ Continuing Resolution (CR).”
In a letter to Pelosi and Lowey, the senators said the House should “reimburse the Commodity Credit Corporation, which is routinely supported by Congress, to ensure producers have access to much-needed agriculture assistance.”
House Agriculture Committee ranking member Michael Conaway, R-Texas, said today, “House Democratic leaders are not listening to their own rank-and-file members and continue to hold vital aid for our farmers and ranchers hostage by blocking replenishment of the CCC. I had not waded into this issue publicly because I had hoped that cooler heads would prevail. They have not. I call on Speaker Pelosi and Chairwoman Lowey to stop using our nation’s farmers and ranchers and rural communities as pawns in your fight with the president. Fully fund USDA so it can do its job. It is no surprise that China would try to hold our farmers and ranchers hostage so it could continue to cheat on its trade commitments, but we should not expect the leaders of the United States House of Representatives to use rural America as a bargaining chip.”
On Tuesday, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., vice chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and a frequent skeptic on programs that aid big farmers, asked Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for a briefing on the issue.
Perdue told reporters today he would be happy “to provide information to appropriators” and other House members.
The Environmental Working Group, which earlier noted that members of Trump’s agricultural advisory committee had received trade aid, today published a blog post on a trade aid recipient who lives near a golf course in Arizona but got aid from a farm in Indiana.