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Phasing out subsidies in the Farm Bill

As a conference committee on Capitol Hill meets to consider the House and  Senate versions of the Farm Bill, House Republicans should insist that their version of the bill’s energy title, which provides a clear pathway to eliminating wasteful agricultural and energy industry subsidies, is the one that the committee adopts.

The House bill eliminates mandatory funding for subsidy programs under the energy title (Title IX), authorizing only discretionary spending for these programs that can be eliminated as market forces dictate, thus ending the practice of subsidizing billionaire agribusiness tycoons.

The Senate’s big-spending bill, on the other hand, continues the subsidy status quo for another five years, making spending cuts so minimal that they are clearly symbolic.  More egregiously, it adds nearly $1 billion in new mandatory spending for subsidy programs, meaning taxpayer funds will continue to be doled out to those who don’t need them.

The Senate legislation would expand, rather than scale back, the practice of the government dictating the direction of market forces in the agricultural industry, an approach that has created the subsidy-dependent state of affairs that exists today.

Enacting the House legislation and phasing out these energy title programs is projected to save $160 billion over the next decade – a drop in the bucket that is our $17 trillion national debt but an important step toward getting government out of private industry and one that would send a clear message to subsidy-seeking entities that the accountability-free cash register is closing.

Stephen DeMaura is President of Americans for Job Security

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