Chairman’s proposal turned down: Ag Committee OKs $5.5 billion aid


WASHINGTON – House Agriculture Committee members voted 24-23 to adopt a substitute $5.5 billion package of economic assistance for producers to be used in the 2001 fiscal year that expires Sept. 30.

Chairman Larry Combest, R-Texas, had presented the committee with legislation that would have provided $6.5 billion, claiming the alternative package will be insufficient to meet producers’ worsening prices for crops in the 2001 crop year.

Boehner bucks chairman.

The substitute amendment by Ranking Member Charles Stenholm, D-Texas, and Vice Chairman John Boehner, R-Ohio, limits overall assistance to $5.5 billion, with $4.6 billion in market loss payments to major crop producers, and the balance to oilseed, peanut, wool and mohair, tobacco quota holders, as well as handlers and producers of cottonseed.

Provisions of the substitute amendment include:

* $4.6 billion for supplemental market loss assistance payments to individuals receiving an AMTA payment;

* $423 million to producers of 2000 crop of oilseeds;

* $54.2 million to producers of peanuts;

* $16.9 million to producers of wool and mohair;

* $84.7 million to producers and first handlers of cottonseed;

* $129 million in supplemental payments to tobacco quota holders;

* $169 million in the following manner: $10 million for direct and indirect costs related to the processing, transportation, and distribution of commodities; $500,000 grant to each state and $1 million Puerto Rico to promote agriculture; grants to each state totaling $134 million based on the value of production of specialty crops in relation to the national value of specialty crop production (states receiving these grants must agree to give a priority to specialty crops as a condition of receiving the grant).

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