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McCaskill Sponsors Bipartisan Farm Bill Amendment

Senator: Current provision ‘one of the silliest I’ve ever seen’

May 23, 2013

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill today announced that she would sponsor a bipartisan amendment aimed at allowing taxpayers to save money via renegotiated rates with insurance companies who are making billions of dollars selling crop insurance.

Currently, farmers across the country are eligible to purchase federally subsidized crop insurance. These policies are sold and serviced by 16 pre-approved private insurance companies. The Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) negotiated between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and these private companies determines how these companies are reimbursed by the government for administrative and operating costs, and how these companies are protected (or "reinsured") against losses.

Periodically, the SRA is renegotiated in order to ensure that taxpayers are getting the best possible deal. However, language inserted into this year's Farm Bill prohibits the federal government from negotiating an agreement that will save taxpayers money. This bipartisan amendment-cosponsored by Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona-would strike this language, ensuring that taxpayers get the best possible deal.

"This is one of the silliest provisions I've ever seen in a piece of legislation," McCaskill said. "In a time of serious budget constraints it's more important than ever to find savings."

Last year, McCaskill helped pass the bipartisan Farm Bill to support agriculture jobs, reauthorize essential disaster assistance programs, strengthen resources for family farms and ranches, and reduce the national deficit by more than $23 billion. In December, she joined a bipartisan group of Senators in urging Congress to include the Farm Bill as part of the end-of-year package, in order to provide certainty for Missouri's farmers and ranchers. Last year's efforts failed after the U.S. House refused to act on the legislation.

McCaskill has also proposed legislation that would end wasteful Direct Payments-direct cash transfers of taxpayer dollars to farmers from the government that do not take into account current yields or prices.

Read more about McCaskill's fight to cut government spending, HERE.

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