House votes to replenish CCC in continuing resolution
A continuing resolution was passed Tuesday night by the U.S. House which includes funds for the Commodity Credit Corporation with conditions.
The legislation prohibits CCC funds to be used by the oil industry and almost $8 billion has been earmarked for nutrition assistance.
Ag policy specialist Jonathan Coppess at the University of Illinois tells Brownfield the CCC essentially works like a $30 billion credit card for USDA and at the end of the fiscal year Congress replenishes the fund after a report from the agency. He says the magnitude of what’s being spent on ad-hock programs in addition to farm bill program payments raises a lot of questions on where the dollars are going and how much has been spent.
“It has the potential of being abused if it’s not closely watched because it is a large amount of funding available to USDA and the discretion is something that you can’t check in advance.”
He says it’s up to USDA to provide Congress with how the money is managed and being less than transparent on it’s usage can complicate the situation.
The resolution would fund the government through December 11 and now moves to the Senate.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota says agriculture interests were the biggest sticking point in the negotiations and he worked to include a provision to ensure that farm safety net and conservation payments could go out on time in the final version. Ranking Member Michael Conaway of Texas says he’s pleased cooler heads prevailed and USDA will now have the funds it needs to help farmers, ranchers, and dairy producers get back on their feet.
Chairman of the Senate Ag Committee Pat Roberts says thankfully Democrats have heard their call, and the calls from farm country, to not ignore rural America when funding the government. Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan says the deal in the House takes a critical step in addressing the hunger crisis and secures greater accountability of the funds.
American Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall says while they’re disappointed CCC funding became a political hot spot, he is thankful House lawmakers put aside their differences to address the hardships felt by America’s farmers and ranchers.
National Farmers Union President Rob Larew says they’re are relieved the House came to an agreement that would prevent a shutdown and hopes the Senate will follow suit.