Q & A from the Ag Committee Hearing on Cap & Trade Bill

Jun 12, 2009

Tamara Hinton (202) 225-0184

WASHINGTON – The full Agriculture Committee concluded its first public hearing to review the Waxman-Markey climate change and energy legislation (H.R. 2454). Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, was a witness on the first panel. Below is an excerpt of some of his answers to questions that pertain to his support for the bill and the potential for increase costs to farmers if this bill passes.

Ranking Member Frank Lucas (OK-3): “Do you Mr. Secretary support this bill that we are considering today, the bill as passed out of Energy and Commerce?”

Sec. Tom Vilsack: “What I support is the notion that there’s obviously work yet to be done on this bill.”

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (VA-6): “Has USDA done an analysis on how this bill will affect the operating costs of America’s farmers and ranchers?”

Sec. Tom Vilsack: “There has not been a USDA specific analysis. We recognize that EPA did an analysis and they’re in the process of re-doing…. So the answer to the question is we have not done a full, complete analysis of the bill and again our assumption and belief is that this is a work in progress.”

Rep. Jerry Moran (KS-1): “What do you estimate the increase in costs to be for farmers as a result of this legislation?”

Sec. Tom Vilsack: “I can’t give you a specific number today, in large part because the analysis upon which we would make that determination has not been completed…. I think it is fair to say there may be additional costs associated with a farming operation, but it is very difficult to quantify.”

"This is the biggest piece of legislation to impact production agriculture and rural America in decades and as it’s written now, it does not come with an expiration date. Our actions will be permanent. Rushing it through Congress is not the way to create law. We need more information, more hearings, and a markup," said Ranking Member Frank Lucas.