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.
House Approves $6 Billion Financial Safety Net Commitment
$6 BILLION READIED FOR NEW, PERMANENT CHANGES IN FARM FINANCIAL SAFETY NET
As the House of Representatives prepares to vote on the Budget Resolution for the Fiscal Years 2000-2004, Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX) expressed his strong support for the resolution including a total of $6 billion in new agriculture funding authority which will allow Congress to enact permanent changes in the farm financial safety net.
"This is a great opportunity for America's farmers and ranchers," said Combest. "They are in a crisis and we are working hard to create an adequate safety net to ensure their future prosperity. The $6 billion contained in the Budget Resolution gives us the means to permanently improve risk management for farmers and I'm confident we'll be able to pass legislation doing so this year."
"Despite paying lip service to crop insurance reform in his State of the Union address, the president's budget didn't contain one cent for improving the system," said Combest. "Nevertheless, with passage of this resolution we are going to have permanent funding, and I hope the administration will work with us to create a program that dramatically improves the farm financial safety net."
In addition to the $6 billion in new agriculture funding, the Budget Resolution contains up to $15 billion in tax cuts for FY2000 and almost $800 billion over the next decade. These reductions will allow Congress to continue working to provide American farmers and ranchers with tax relief vital to their livelihoods -- including estate tax reform, health insurance deductions, capital gains tax relief, and the creation of Farm and Ranch Risk Management savings accounts.