WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI) complimented Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Tom Coburn (R-OK) for introducing legislation to rein in wasteful crop insurance subsidies, an effort Rep. Kind continues to lead in the House. Among its many flaws, the Farm Bill passed by Congress earlier this year did virtually nothing to address the bloated crop insurance program.
“The need to rein in crop insurance subsidies isn’t going away, which is why I’m continuing to fight for bipartisan reform in the House and why I applaud these Senators for pushing this issue as well,” said Rep. Kind. “Unfortunately, the status quo prevailed in the debate over the last Farm Bill, but Congress can still do the right thing both for taxpayers and family farmers by fixing our crop insurance policies.”
Rep. Kind and his home-state colleague Rep. Tom Petri (R-WI) authored the Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures (AFFIRM) Act last year, calling for bold reforms in our crop insurance premium subsidy program to save taxpayer dollars and promote transparency. The AFFIRM Act would save taxpayers $11 billion over 10 years while still providing a strong safety net for family farmers.
While the new Senate bill calls for a limit of $70,000 in crop insurance premium subsidies per individual farm, the AFFIRM Act calls for a tighter cap of $40,000. The AFFIRM Act also eliminates crop insurance premium subsidies for individuals with an adjusted gross income of more than $250,000, and requires more of the administrative and operating costs to be shared by the private companies that offer coverage.
“The recent Farm Bill was a huge missed opportunity, and now we’re stuck with a system in which we have cases of farmers down South getting over $1 million a year in crop insurance subsidies” concluded Rep. Kind. “It’s time to work together in a bipartisan fashion to make crop insurance more cost-effective, transparent and accountable to taxpayers, while maintaining a safety net for farmers who need assistance.”