We have great news to report!
Thanks to the tenacity and hard work of House Agriculture Committee Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX), a full repeal of the provision that would otherwise kill Federal Crop Insurance has been included in the final Highway Bill that is being reported out of the House and Senate conference committee this afternoon. Importantly, in full conformance with the pledge made to Chairman Conaway the offsets to pay for the repeal of this noxious provision are not coming from within the Agriculture Committees’ jurisdiction.
Here is how the language in the Highway Bill reads:
SEC. 32205. REPEAL.
Effective as of November 2, 2015, the date of the enactment of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (Public Law 114–74), section 201 of such Act and the amendments made by such section are repealed, and the provisions of law amended by such section are hereby restored to appear as if such section had not been enacted into law.
The next step is that the Highway Bill conference report must be voted on up or down by the House and Senate, with no amendment. Should Congress approve the measure, the President is expected to sign it into law.
Chairman Conaway has praised House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Transportation Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) for their leadership in supporting this critical repeal as part of the Highway Bill.
As you recall, a provision designed to kill Federal Crop Insurance was inserted in the Bipartisan Budget Agreement via a back room deal struck in the middle of the night. But, within 36 hours, Chairman Conaway had secured firm commitments from House leadership to repeal the provision in the Omnibus Appropriations Bill and to do so without imposing cuts elsewhere within the Agriculture Committee’s jurisdiction.
Chairman Conaway has enjoyed the strong backing of his Ranking Member, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN), Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), many other congressional leaders and rank and file Members of Congress. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) who is a long-time champion of crop insurance, pledged to honor the agreement in a floor colloquy with Chairman Roberts.
Importantly, our champions in Congress enjoyed the strong backing of folks like you! Your emails and your calls were crucial. You made a huge difference! We are proud of you all and we cannot thank you enough!
We will let you know if your efforts are needed in whipping for the Highway Bill. We may also be called on to help with the Omnibus Bill. Even though the crop insurance fix is not going to be on the Omnibus because Leadership moved it to the Highway Bill to give crop insurance an earlier, surer fix, we certainly would still owe it to our friends to help them with this other legislation if and when called upon to do so.
But, for now, we just wanted you to be aware that a promise was made to you earlier in the month and it increasingly appears that that promise will be kept.
Chalk up a big win for the good guys!
Yours gratefully, The CSA Crew