posted on January 28, 2014 15:48
Capitol Hill lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have an agreement on a new farm bill that leaves most programs in place.
Local Congressman Chris Collins says he plans to vote for its approval tomorrow when it goes to the House.
“The key is it’s replacing subsidies for farmers with crop insurance,” he said by conference call today. “I think the American public is happier to know the government’s support is for the insurance program no a subsidy program, and I think they reached a good compromise.”
“I suppose the sign it’s a very good bill is that there’s something in it that pretty much everyone doesn’t like,” he said. “There were those of us that wanted sugar reform; that’s not in there. There were some of us that wanted to move catfish from the USDA back to the FDA; that didn’t happen. It’s just a good, bipartisan bill.”
He says for the mostly-agricultural 27th district he represents, local farmers will have certainty for the next five years.
The deal announced couples a one-percent cut in the food stamp program with cuts in a few subsidies to producers.
Collins says it simply is closing a loophole.
“No one who deserves food stamps is getting any cuts,” Collins said. “This is about some levels of categorical eligibility and in particular what they call LIPHEAP, the low-income heating assistance program, where there were states, including New York, that would make it very easy to provide a miniscule, an insignificant amount of heating assistance, and in doing so, claim categorical eligibility for the person who got those couple of dollars in heating assistance to get food stamps.”
Collins says the money for food stamp assistance can go to those who truly need it based on income requirements, not those who he says were manipulating the system.
The New York Farm Bureau expressed its support, calling it a “sensible bill that balances savings with an appropriate safety net for farmers and consumers alike.”