Chairman Goodlatte's Statement Concerning the Ongoing Omnibus Negotiations

Feb 12, 2003

CHAIRMAN GOODLATTE'S STATEMENT CONCERNING THE ONGOING OMNIBUS NEGOTIATIONS

In the ongoing negotiations surrounding the drought assistance provision, there has been talk recently of reopening the Farm Bill. Some bad ideas have circulated during these discussions but this is by far the worst that I have heard. The Farm Bill was a very carefully negotiated agreement, and once you reopen it, it essentially becomes a piggy bank susceptible to the whims of others. It is the strongly held opinion of the Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee that reopening the Farm Bill is simply not in the interest of the American farming community.

Furthermore, we remain united behind the idea that any program to provide drought relief should be targeted. Farmers that did not suffer a loss should not be paid. We need to make sure that those who are hurting the most are the recipients of any aid package.

If the disaster assistance is not going to be targeted and if it is going to come at the expense of the Farm Bill it calls in to question whether or not producers are ultimately going to benefit.

We continue to work with the Senate and the White House to find a solution to assist farmers who have suffered a severe drought loss.