Rep. Austin Scott, Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture, Research, Biotechnology and Foreign Agriculture, held a public hearing to review the impact of enforcement activities by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) on specialty crop growers. Specifically, Subcommittee Members addressed growing concerns that DOL is using the "Hot Goods" provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (FLSA) in an arbitrary manner against producers of perishable agricultural commodities without regard for the inevitable destruction of the product and significant economic hardship inflicted on farmers and their employees.
Combest Renews Call on President to Submit Farm Disaster Relief Proposal
As Congress readies to reconvene next week with farm
emergency relief high on the list of priorities, House Agriculture Committee
Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) today again called on the Clinton/Gore
Administration to end its political campaign and submit to Congress a
concrete plan for alleviating the current crisis affecting American farmers
"In his budget, the President did not ask for one penny of increased
assistance for America's farming and ranching families," Combest said. "We
are now approaching harvest season and we cannot afford to wait any longer
while the President tries to score political points instead of joining us in
addressing this crisis."
American farmers and ranchers are in the midst of the second year of the
worst farm crisis in recent memory caused by weather problems and low
commodity prices. The vast resources of the Administration and the
Department of Agriculture put it in the best position to provide a national
assessment of the disaster and to outline specific proposals on how to best
help farmers through this difficult period. Nevertheless, the
Administration has completely failed to submit a formal recommendation to
Congress, and has instead relied on vague public statements decrying the
farm crisis and falsely accusing Congress of idleness.
"Congress has already approved a $6 billion increase in the crop insurance
program, and the Senate has passed a emergency aid program totaling nearly
$8 billion," Combest said. "The House will move quickly on this legislation
when it returns next week, but farmers would benefit more if the President
would use the vast resources under his control to assist us in drafting an
For months, Combest has continually requested that the President provide
Congress the information it needs and to implement desperately needed
legislative proposals to address the farm crisis. Instead of working with
the House and Senate, the President has resorted to inflammatory rhetoric
and scare tactics while completely failing to submit a plan that addresses
the disaster facing American farming and ranching families.