Ag Committee Proposes ?Reform? to Limit Subsidies . . . but Only for the Richest One Tenth of One Percent

By Oxfam

Washington, DC — Chairman Collin Peterson’s promised “reform” of trade distorting commodity subsidies, made during House Agriculture Committee deliberations on the 2007 Farm Bill this week, gives only the appearance of reform, according to international aid agency Oxfam America.

The Chairman’s proposed mark discussed today during Farm Bill deliberations before the Ag Committee includes a farm program eligibility limit of one million dollars in Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). That means that the vast majority of large farm operations that currently receive subsidies would still be eligible to receive those payments, according to Oxfam. In fact, current limits on the size of those direct payments would actually increase under the Chairman’s proposal.

“It’s disappointing that what the Democrats are putting on the table is five times weaker than the Bush Administration’s own proposed cap,” said Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam America. “The USDA proposal put forward an adjusted gross income (AGI) limit of $200,000, a figure which would still leave many mega farmers, especially large cotton operations, eligible for big government checks.”

“It’s a sad day when the Democratically-led Agriculture Committee is a better friend to wealthy special interests than the Bush Administration,” said Offenheiser. “It’s time for the Congress to muster the political will to insist on real farm bill reform.”

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