Administration strongly opposes S. 1246 as reported by the Committee
on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, because spending authorized
by the bill would exceed $ 5.5 billion, the amount provided in the
budget resolution and the amount adopted by the House. If S. 1246
is presented to the President at a level higher than $5.5 billion,
the President's senior advisers will recommend that he veto the bill.
budget resolution provides $5.5 billion for 2001, an amount that
the Administration strongly believes is more than adequate for this
crop year. Moreover, improvements in agricultural markets and stronger
livestock and crop prices means that the need for additional federal
assistance continues to diminish. An additional $5.5 billion in
federal assistance will boost expected real U.S. farm net-cash income
to $53.6 billion (1996 dollars), a level of income significantly
above the previous two years. With the need for additional assistance
well within the $5.5 billion provided, the expenditure of funds
allocated for 2002 in crop-year 2001 would be premature. In addition,
the bill provides funding for a number of programs that have nothing
to do with farmers' 2001 incomes. Funding for these programs should
not be included as part of a 2001 farm income assistance bill.
ensure that assistance can be made available to the Nation's farmers
and growers as soon as possible, the Administration strongly urges
the Senate to approve H.R. 2213 as passed by the House of Representatives.
The Administration also urges that the Senate refrain from adopting
any extraneous amendments that could slow the timely enactment of
this bill. The House-passed bill provides $5.5 billion in assistance,
which is the amount provided for in the budget resolution and the
maximum amount the Administration would support.
1246 would increase direct spending and, therefore, would be subject
to the pay-as-you-go requirement of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation
Act of 1990. OMB's preliminary scoring estimate of this bill is
that it would increase direct spending by $7.4 billion in Fiscal
Years 2001-2002. Final scoring of this legislation may deviate from
this estimate. The Administration will work with Congress to ensure
that no unintended sequesters of spending occur under current law
or through enactment of any other proposals that meet the President's
objectives to reduce the debt, fund priority initiatives, and grant
tax relief to all income tax paying Americans.