Opening Statement by Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Collin C. Peterson

February 12, 2015
Press Release

--As Prepared for Delivery--

“Thank you Chairman Conaway. Good morning everyone.

“The Budget Views and Estimates letter lays out the Agriculture Committee’s commitment to reducing the deficit and ensuring that programs under our jurisdiction operate efficiently and responsibly.

“As the letter states, CBO has estimated that the 2014 Farm Bill would save $16 billion over 10 years; $23 billion when you count sequestration. We were the one Committee that actually stepped up to the plate and reduced the budget deficit. Frankly, I would argue that we have done our part when it comes to deficit reduction.

“Despite this savings and the efforts of the Agriculture Committees, agriculture programs continue to come under attack. The Administration recently proposed cuts to the crop insurance program and I anticipate, given what we have seen in the past, that the Republican budget will also propose similar cuts. It’s important to remember that the purpose of farm bill programs is to provide a safety net during tough economic times, whether for farmers facing falling commodity prices or consumers struggling to put food on the table.

“Additionally, the Committee will again take on the task of reauthorizing the CFTC. We produced a bipartisan bill last Congress and I am hopeful that we can again find some middle ground to address some of the implementation issues we’ve had with Dodd-Frank without repealing these important financial reforms.

“Again, I thank the Chair and look forward to working together this year. I yield back.”