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.
Opening Statement of Chairman Frank D. Lucas Committee on Agriculture Business Meeting to Consider the Oversight Plan of the Committee in the 113th Congress and Other Organizational Matters
Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184
Good morning and thank you for joining me for this business meeting.
The Rules of the U.S. House of Representatives require each committee to adopt an oversight plan and submit it to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and the Committee on House Administration by February 15th.
The oversight plan proposed today was prepared in consultation with Ranking Member Peterson and sets forth the agenda of this Committee during the 113th Congress. The plan does not limit in any way the matters that we may decide to examine at a later date, but rather highlights key policy issues in our jurisdiction to make certain programs are running efficiently and responsibly.
One of these policy areas is the state of the rural economy. We plan to hold our first hearing in two weeks to examine this issue. This will entail not only evaluating how our producers are faring since experiencing a historic drought, and in some parts of the country a multi-year drought, but also measuring the competitiveness of rural economies.
Another matter of oversight will be making certain that the one-year extension of the 2008 Farm Bill is implemented in a way that provides producers with certainty for the 2013 crop year.
The Committee will also continue to provide rigorous oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and its implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Legislatively, the Committee will continue to introduce and pass legislation that will protect end-users – our nation’s farmers, ranchers, and businesses – from disruptions in their operations caused by a flood of new CFTC rules and regulations.
Another important focus of the Committee will be reauthorization of the CFTC. We must ensure that the Commission is overseeing the derivatives markets in a responsible manner that provides stringent oversight and affords strong protections to customers of those markets.
Finally, we will continue our efforts from the last Congress to ensure that our agricultural producers are not burdened with unreasonable and costly regulations.
Our oversight plan for this Congress is comprehensive, balanced, and reflects the bipartisan nature in which this Committee operates. I encourage you to support it and look forward to working with you on these important issues.