The National Corn Growers Association urged the House of Representatives to protect the jurisdiction of the House Agriculture Committee when it takes up debate on H.R. 2112, legislation making appropriations for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies. Policy debate over farm safety net programs belongs as a part of the legislative process for writing the 2012 farm bill.
"We understand the important role that debate and compromise play in our legislative process," said NCGA President Bart Schott. "At the same time, we should respect the procedures and institutions designed to facilitate our governance. The farm bill is constructed with considerable care and deliberation to serve as the overarching farm safety net policy for five years. Allowing the bill to be crudely butchered during hasty yearly appropriations bills strips authority from the Agriculture Committees and moves the legislative process further from the thoughtful debate that crafts better policy."
During consideration of H.R. 2112, the Appropriations Committee adopted amendments that would effectively amend the 2008 farm bill with detrimental results for farm safety net programs. As these amendments constitute legislation, they should be struck from an appropriations bill.
H.R. 2112 also contains large reductions in many of the programs authorized and funded through the 2008 farm bill. Decisions on how much mandatory spending should be allocated to programs that benefit farmers, rural communities, researchers and others should be made by the authorizing committee, such as the House Agriculture Committee, not appropriators.