U.S. Sen. Feingold: Applauds USDA agreement to rein in crop insurance subsidies, reduce deficit

Contact: Zach Lowe & Katie Rowley – (202) 224-5323

New Agreement Captures Savings Similar to Provision in Feingold’s Control Spending Now Act

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Russ Feingold released the following statement after the USDA announced that all 16 crop insurance companies have agreed to its proposal to improve the federal government’s crop insurance program. The new proposal will reduce excessive subsidies, while maintaining the important risk management tool for farmers and reducing the deficit.

“The old agreement was clearly in need of reform to reduce unnecessary spending, with payments to insurance companies more than doubling between 2006 and 2009 as commodity prices increased. I applaud the USDA for trimming excessive subsidies while maintaining an important safety net for our farmers. In striking this balance, the USDA has saved taxpayers $4 billion. I laid out a similar plan in my Control Spending Now Act, which included reductions in administrative and overhead expenses and an increase in the government’s share of net underwriting gains. I urge all agencies to take a page from USDA’s playbook and reexamine how they are spending money and come up with ways to save taxpayer dollars.”

Feingold’s Control Spending Now Act proposes several reforms to agriculture subsidies such as reducing direct payments to landowners, including those who do not even use the land for farming. The CSNA also would reform irrigation subsidies, cut eligibility for many high income individuals who don’t need government assistance and eliminate the special deal for cotton producers to store cotton at the taxpayers’ expense. More information on Feingold’s Control Spending Now Act is available here: http://feingold.senate.gov/deficit/index.html.