Thompson, Boozman criticize House ag reconciliation process
Rep. Glenn “GT” Thompson, R-Pa., ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee, and Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., ranking member on the Senate Agriculture Committee, have issued statements critical of the House Agriculture Committee’s approval on the Sept. 13 reconciliation instructions to the House Budget Committee.
Thompson said, “It’s Groundhog Day here at the House Agriculture Committee. Despite touting his commitment to bipartisanship, [House Agriculture Committee] Chairman [David] Scott [D-Ga.] sadly fell in line with [House] Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi [D-Calif.] yet again during the second hyper-partisan reconciliation process this year. I’m greatly disappointed to see my colleagues across the aisle so brazenly disrespect the long bipartisan history of this great committee by supporting this socialist spending spree.
“Leading up to the 2018 farm bill, Republican Committee leadership held more than 100 public events for members on both sides of the aisle to better understand the needs of farmers, ranchers and foresters. Instead of taking a strategic pause to thoughtfully review this legislation, Democrats voted to advance it. This bill prioritizes partisan pet projects over the needs of our nation’s farm families and doesn’t dedicate a dime to crucial programs like the commodity safety net, crop insurance, broadband or disaster assistance.
“Friday’s markup was a disastrous sham from start to finish, and my Democrat colleagues should be ashamed of their complete disregard of process and decorum. Democrats refused to adequately address the implications of President Biden’s many tax proposals, and ultimately, farm families will end up footing the bill for this reckless spending package. The message couldn’t be clearer — President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and Congressional Democrats are perfectly fine leaving rural America in the dust.”
At a conference Tuesday, Boozman said the Democratic bill leaves animal agriculture “out in the cold.”
He said, “The segment of American agriculture responsible for over half of our country’s farm receipts was left out in the cold entirely. This signals to me that the administration is not interested in assisting animal agriculture in being more sustainable.”
Today at a Senate Agriculture subcommittee hearing on dairy policy, Boozman said that he hears from all farmers that they are concerned “about higher taxes, higher input costs and increasing regulation.”
“And rising to each of those concerns is the reckless tax-and-spend legislation that the Democrat leadership is getting ready to force through Congress,” he added.
Previous budget reconciliation efforts over the past 40 years have been conducted in a bipartisan fashion, Boozman said, adding that “consideration of the agriculture provisions of the American Rescue Plan Act in 2021 was the first time in more than 40 years that this bipartisan committee tradition was not upheld.
“No hearings were held to listen to the needs of farmers and ranchers. No business meeting was held to afford committee Republicans or Democrats input into drafting the bill.
“Democrats did not convene a conference committee to consider any changes, and the final bill passed Congress by a party-line vote.”
Boozman added that he is “deeply concerned that Democrats are choosing to go down this road once again.
“Without input from the agricultural community and without the input of senators on this committee, Democratic leaders in the House and Senate are preparing a $3.5 trillion tax-and-spend bill that better reflects White House priorities rather than those of the agricultural community.”
He noted that the bill approved by the House Agriculture Committee did not cover an expected $28 billion increase in conservation, but “the bill did however identify something called the Civilian Climate Corps, which I think is better described as the climate police.
“We have no information on what the climate police may be, what its purpose is, how it will work, why it is needed, or any other answers to the most fundamental questions American taxpayers expect this body to know and deliberate on before spending trillions of dollars.
“We do know that President Biden’s so-called American Jobs Plan proposes mobilizing the next generation of resilience workers to advance environmental justice.
“We also know that in this bill, Democrats are directing the climate police to operate on federal forests and private land. That’s the last thing farmers and ranchers need.
“The part that concerns me the most is the impact this partisan process will have on consideration of the next farm bill.
“Despite its high final vote tallies, passing the 2018 farm bill was no simple task. It took moderation on both sides and months of thoughtful deliberation to craft legislation that demonstrated wins for all.
“By choosing this approach, Democrats are shattering the farm bill process and putting our farmers’ futures in jeopardy.
“Throughout this process, I and my Republican colleagues on this committee will do everything in our power to defend American agriculture from the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending agenda.”
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