It was the subject of more than 40 congressional hearings and countless hours of careful debate. It was touted as a major bipartisan accomplishment of the 113th Congress. And the package will save taxpayers billions.
Yet just one year after passage, and before many aspects of the 2014 Farm Bill have even been implemented, anti-agriculture forces – including multinational candy companies – are busy lobbying Congress to pry open the law and cut even more of farmers’ safety net.
In Big Candy’s case, the lobby is focused squarely on a single Farm Bill provision that is projected by the USDA to cost taxpayers $0 over the next 10 years. And the changes they seek to U.S. sugar policy were already voted on and rejected five times during the Farm Bill debate.
The American Sugar Alliance (ASA) is on record saying that reopening this just-passed legislation with the intent of harming America’s farmers is foolish and a waste of valuable legislative time. And the ASA is far from being alone.
This week, ASA and nearly 400 farm, conservation, nutrition, and business groups sent Congress a letter asking that the 2014 Farm Bill not be reopened and cut.
The letter noted:
“The 2014 farm bill required over three years of debate in both chambers of Congress and ultimately ended with the consolidation of over 100 programs and cuts to mandatory spending across many titles, including the elimination of the direct payment program…
“This bipartisan legislation was estimated to contribute $23 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years when including sequestration. These difficult cuts were made across the farm safety net, conservation programs, and nutrition programs.
“The policy changes and reforms associated with these cuts are only now being fully implemented by the United States Department of Agriculture. As such, no additional cuts to these programs should be considered, at least until these policies have time to take place and be thoroughly evaluated.”
A copy of the letter in its entirety can be viewed here.