SHAHEEN INTRODUCES BUDGET AMENDMENTS TO REFORM WASTEFUL AGRICULTURE PROGRAMS, SAVE TAXPAYERS MONEYMarch 25, 2015
(WASHINGTON, DC) – As the U.S. Senate debates its fiscal year 2016 federal budget, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) has introduced two amendments to reform wasteful and unnecessary subsidy programs that waste millions in taxpayer dollars. Shaheen’s first amendment introduced with Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) reforms the federal sugar price support program, saving consumers billions and reducing the risk of taxpayer-funded bailouts of the sugar industry. Shaheen’s second amendment, which mirrors a bipartisan proposal introduced with Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), would save taxpayers billions by limiting the amount of premium subsidies provided by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to individual agricultural producers at $50,000 annually.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t be footing the bill for subsidies to large companies that don’t need them,” Shaheen said. “The sugar price support program and crop insurance subsidies are perfect examples of egregious government spending that need to be reined in. These bipartisan proposals would save the American people billions of dollars and the Senate should act on them now.”
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that limiting the amount of premium subsidies provided by the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation to individual agricultural producers to $50,000 would save nearly $2.2 billion over the next ten years. Shaheen’s amendment mirrors bipartisan legislation she introduced with Senator Toomey earlier this year. The cost of the federal crop insurance program has dramatically increased in recent years, and the program currently contains no dollar limitation on the amount of premium subsidy an individual business can receive from the federal government. In 2011 alone, 26 businesses received more than $1 million each in taxpayer dollars. According to the Government Accountability Office, just 2.5 percent of producers nationwide would have been affected by a $50,000 premium support limit in 2011.
The Shaheen-Kirk sugar reform amendment would save $60 million over ten years by rolling back unnecessary and harmful sugar program provisions that hurt jobs and cost consumers and small businesses billions. The sugar support program has already cost consumers more than $14 billion since 2008 and meanwhile, 125,000 jobs in sugar-using industries have been lost since 1997. Earlier this year, Senators Shaheen and Kirk introduced their amendment as standalone legislation.
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