House Ag climate hearing shows partisan differences
A House Agriculture Committee hearing Wednesday on the next farm bill and climate change programs displayed the differences between the Democrats and the Republicans on the issue.
In his opening statement, House Agriculture Committee Chairman David Scott, D-Ga., noted that he had discussed climate change in his first hearing after becoming chairman and that he has said “time and time again that we want agriculture to be at the tip of the spear in our efforts to address climate change.
“I want to ensure that our farm bill programs support producers, particularly historically underserved and beginning farmers, who want to innovate and adopt practices that conserve resources and address climate change, while also allowing farming to remain a viable way of life,” Scott said.
But in his opening statement, Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member on the committee, said, “I would be remiss not to mention the tone deafness of this hearing as our country and our farmers face enormous and immediate challenges including higher food prices, record inflation and input costs, attacks on our energy independence, crop protection tools, and dependable labor.”
Thompson repeated previous statements that he questions whether the Biden administration had the authority to use $1 billion in Commodity Credit Corporation funds to create its Partnerships for Climate-Smart Commodities Program.
Noting that Republicans have introduced several bills dealing with climate change, Thompson told the witnesses, “If you have common-sense solutions, I am here to work with you. But I will not fundamentally up-end our commodity, conservation, and crop insurance programs to appease Washington think tanks. I will reject complicating our programs and making climate the focus of every title of the upcoming farm bill reauthorization.”
A series of witnesses said it will be important to increase voluntary, incentive-based conservation programs to encourage farmers to take action to fight climate change.
But Joe Outlaw, a professor at Texas A&M University, said it will also be important not to create winners and losers through climate change proposals.
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