Combest Cites President's Failure to Budget for Crop Insurance Reform

Feb 1, 1999

WASHINGTON, DC — At a news conference today, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Larry Combest (R-TX), expressed his disappointment and strong concern that the president included no funding for crop insurance reform in his budget, despite the promises he made in his State of the Union address.

"Back to the time of the consideration of the current farm program, I have been saying that I thought the biggest gap was the lack of an adequate safety net," Combest said.  "I think this past year, in farming communities across the country, that has been proven to us time and time again and it's been something that needs a major reform.  I have also said that it would probably be the major policy issue that we will undertake in this committee this year."

"I was very happy in earlier conversations with the Secretary of Agriculture and with hearing in the State of the Union address the president mention his concern about the safety net.  I am, however, extremely concerned that there is not one penny in the president's budget for crop insurance reform," Combest said.

"The Administration is saying 'it needs to be done, but we'll let Congress do all the heavy lifting and figure out how to pay for it' and they'll show up for the bill signing.  That, I think, is not a great way to start off," Combest added.