Today, Rep. K. Michael Conaway (R-TX), Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, issued the following statement regarding legislation introduced by Senator Hoeven (R-ND) and Senator Stabenow (D-MI) that ties repeal of country of origin labeling (COOL) to both the elimination of existing market driven programs and the establishment of a so-called voluntary country of origin (COOL) labeling program for beef, pork, and chicken. This new voluntary program would operate under similar rules as the program found to violate U.S. international trade rules.
House Agriculture Committee Adopts Budget Letter
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the House Committee on Agriculture adopted the budget views and estimates letter which outlines the Committee’s budget recommendations for the federal agencies and programs under its jurisdiction. The letter will be submitted to House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina, pursuant to section 301(d) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as well as clause 4(f) of House Rule X.
“Our proposed views and estimates letter reinforces the message we sent to the Budget Committee last year in preparation of Farm Bill reauthorization: current farm policies are widely popular, save taxpayers billons, and are serving to enhance the well-being of our farmers, ranchers, needy citizens, and consumers by ensuring a safe, affordable food supply,” Chairman Collin C. Peterson of Minnesota said. “We urge the Budget Committee to take these points into consideration while crafting a responsible budget resolution for the coming fiscal year.”
“The work of this Committee not only impacts the agriculture community, it also impacts the lives of every American that enjoys the most affordable food supply in the world,” said Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. “We urge the Budget Committee to recognize the vital role the agriculture sector plays in meeting the needs of American consumers and provide the funding necessary to continue administering conservation, nutrition, renewable energy, credit, and farm safety net programs.”
The Budget Views and Estimates letter passed today reflects Agriculture Committee priorities to the House Budget Committee in preparation of the Fiscal Year 2009 Budget Resolution. The chief priority of the committee continues to be the reauthorization of omnibus farm policy to succeed the 2002 Farm Bill.
Despite a budget baseline that is $60 billion less than when the 2002 Farm Bill was written, the House Agriculture Committee passed a new Farm Bill on July 20, 2007, that continues the popular farm safety net while including new investments in agriculturally-based renewable energy resources, specialty crops, nutrition, and agricultural conservation programs. The full House passed the bill a week later, the Senate version of the Farm Bill passed on December 14, 2007, and the two bills are in the process of being reconciled.
Each member of the committee will have an opportunity to submit additional views before the letter is filed on Friday, February 29, 2008.