House Ag Committee leaders say budget crop insurance cuts eliminated

House Ag Committee leaders say budget crop insurance cuts eliminated

Agreement to avoid cuts to crop insurance included in budget agreement

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on Wednesday said an agreement to avoid the cuts to crop insurance is included in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement of 2015, recently approved by the House.

Rep. K. Michael Conaway questions Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, during his testimony before the House Agriculture Committee on Mar. 5, 2013. USDA Photo by Lance Cheung.

"I want to thank my colleagues who have made it very clear over the last 24 hours that the attempt to gut crop insurance in the budget agreement was not acceptable," Conaway said. "Our nation's farmers and ranchers did their part in reining in our nation's debt in the 2014 farm bill, saving an estimated $23 billion. It is imperative that we do not undermine their trust by attacking the primary tool they use to manage the tremendous risks involved in producing food and fiber.

Conaway said leadership has heeded the lawmakers' concerns by agreeing to completely reverse the provision in the upcoming omnibus.

"Crop insurance is working as intended, and private industry deserves to be lauded, not thrown under the bus," Conaway said. "I take our leadership at their word when they committed to me and many of my colleagues that we will eliminate these harmful provisions in the not-so-distant future, which is why I will vote in support of the budget agreement today."

Conaway said while not the easiest path forward, the agreement is a win for rural America.

Ranking Member Collin Peterson added that he, too, was pleased with the agreement, which also means members will not have to reopen the farm bill.

"We have assurances that the cuts will be removed and the farm bill will not be raided," Peterson said Wednesday. "We produced a fiscally responsible and bipartisan farm bill in 2014 that saved $23 billion. We've done our part. I can now support the Budget Agreement with these assurances."

For more on this story, see: New budget deal could hit crop insurance with cuts

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