Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

End of the free ride? House panel votes to cut farm subsidies

By MARY CLARE JALONICK
June 1, 2011

A House committee voted Tuesday to cut farm subsidies to pay for deficit reduction and other budget priorities, chipping away at the billions of dollars a year that are directed to farmers.

The votes in the House Appropriations Committee may be a preview of what is expected to be a tough year for agriculture programs. Congressional lawmakers have increasingly looked to billions of dollars in farm subsidies as a source of money for other priorities as crop prices have reached record levels.

In a surprise move, the committee approved an amendment by Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., to lower the maximum adjusted gross income a farmer can have to earn certain subsidies. While many farmers can now make as much as $750,000 annually and still receive subsidies, Flake’s amendment would lower the threshold for some to $250,000. Flake did not say how much money would be saved by the change but said those dollars would go toward reducing the deficit.

The committee also approved an amendment by Flake to use domestic farm subsidies to pay for $147 million in annual payments to Brazil’s cotton sector to settle a World Trade Organization dispute. The committee later eliminated those payments to Brazil entirely, shifting the money to domestic feeding programs.

Both of Flake’s amendments would dip into direct payments to farmers, which are a type of subsidy paid regardless of crop price or yield. They cost the government about $5 billion a year and have been a frequent target of critics.

The two amendments passed by unanimous consent, which Flake said may be a sign of debates to come.

“It says a lot that no one is publicly willing to defend this kind of largesse,” he said later.

The original bill written by Republicans had made large cuts to domestic feeding programs and foreign food aid but no major cuts to farm subsidy programs. Democrats and some conservatives criticized that legislation because it did not dip into subsidies.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

7 Responses to End of the free ride? House panel votes to cut farm subsidies

  1. Cindy

    June 1, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Great news – as long as you don’t like to eat!

  2. Jorden

    June 1, 2011 at 10:35 am

    There we go again. Biting the hands that feed us.

  3. Sandune

    June 1, 2011 at 11:08 am

    This is a good start!!

  4. woody188

    June 1, 2011 at 11:15 pm

    Don’t you wish they would stand up and pledge support to American farmers like they do to Israel?

    The oil industry got to keep their $4-5 billion government subsidy. Maybe we can eat oil…

  5. Carl Nemo

    June 2, 2011 at 2:09 am

    Farm subsidies have ballooned into another form of corporate welfare. It’s not simply mom and pop farms that might enjoy such aid to get them through bad years in terms of crop pricing etc. It’s become another scam that sharp-penciled corporate types as well as wealthy individuals who own large ranches and farms are using to bleed taxpayers white with no cost benefit reflected in the price of groceries for common folks.

    I’ll provide a link so readers can study the structure of this behemoth. It’s too bad they didn’t pull the plug on big oil too. Even the MIC gets subsidies in the form of bloated cost overruns on their never-ending ‘defense’ boondoggles.

    http://farm.ewg.org/top_recips.php?fips=00000&progcode=total

    There should be no ‘sacred cows’ when it comes to cutting our tax burdens.

    It’s time America cinched in its belt and started eating right again in the form of national frugality which would include the termination of waging of zero sum, endless wars against shadowy terrorists worldwide; ie., another tax debtor shakedown sponsored by our crimpols in D.C. : |

    Carl Nemo **==

  6. Sailcat

    June 2, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Many farm subsidies are paid for NOT farming.

  7. jim0001

    June 2, 2011 at 9:43 pm

    Ethanol? Corn? Subsidies? Stop ‘em all!
    It amazes me when I see combines and tractors that cost $100K plus sitting on farms. I do not mean one of these machines but 4 or 5. One advantage of a three point hitch is the ability to quickly attach different implements. Not however on today’s farm. many have one prime mover for EACH implement. And I helped pay for them. I paid for my two John Deeres w/o TAXPAYER ASSISTANCE. They could also.