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Fact Check: Crawford’s Disastrous Record on Agriculture Issues

March 30, 2012

FACT CHECK: Crawford’s Disastrous Record on Agriculture Issues

 

Today, the House Agriculture Committee will be holding a hearing in Jonesboro, Arkansas to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill, and while Congressman Rick Crawford may claim that he is working for Arkansas farmers, he has a disastrous record on agriculture issues.

 

Just yesterday, Crawford voted for the House Republican budget which calls for over $30 billion in cuts to essential agriculture programs for Arkansas farmers. Even Republican House Agriculture Frank Chairman Lucas, signaled “he is not on board” with these extreme agriculture cuts.

 

This Congress, Crawford has consistently voted to cut agriculture payments for Arkansas farmers and federal crop insurance although his district received 63% of all subsidies to Arkansas. Unfortunately, this is what we have come to expect from Congressman Crawford – voting to gut critical support programs that help Arkansas and then attempting to run from his disastrous record.

 

Background

 

Crawford Voted for Budget with At Least $30 billion in Agriculture Cuts. According to Delta Farm Press, “the plan would cut agriculture spending some $30 billion over the next decade and those writing the next farm bill will have to adhere to those limits.” In addition, “the House Budget committee has specified FY 2013 reconciliations savings for six committees, including the Agriculture Committee to achieve $33.2 billion over 10 years (2012-2022). However, Chairman Ryan’s proposal says the six committees ‘will be responsible for determining how to meet their reconciliation instructions.’” [Delta Farm Press, 3/20/12; Western Farm Press, 3/21/12; H Con Res 112, Vote #151, 3/29/12]

 

GOP Agriculture Chairman Frank Lucas Resisted Plan. “House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) signaled Tuesday that he is not on board with the $33 billion in cuts to farm subsidies from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. (R-Wis.). Lucas backs a compromise cut of about $10 billion less over 10 years that also includes an expanded crop insurance program. Ryan in a press conference Tuesday suggested cutting crop insurance.” [The Hill, 3/20/12]

 

Crawford Voted to Cut Funding for the Delta Regional Authority and Called Those Cuts “Reasonable.” In February 2011, Crawford voted for a budget that would have cut $7.3 million from the Delta Regional Authority’s budget compared to 2010 enacted levels. Crawford called the cuts a “reasonable goal.” [HR 1, Vote #147, 2/19/11; Arkansas-Democrat Gazette, 2/19/11]

 

Department of Agriculture Announced a Number of Closures in Arkansas Due to Cuts from Congress. “USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack announced plans to close 259 offices […] The National Farmers Union said today that Congress is to blame for the ‘painful cuts’ because lawmakers have voted to reduce USDA’s discretionary spending levels by 12 percent since 2010 […] The USDA plans to shut 131 FSA offices in 32 states, with largest number of closures in Arkansas, Tennessee and Texas.” [Arkansas News, 1/10/12]

 

Crawford Voted for Budget that Included $30 Billion in Agriculture Cuts Because “Farmers Understand that Everybody Has to Chin the Bar.” In 2011, Crawford voted for a Republican budget that cut farm spending by $30 billion over 10 years. The cuts were targeted at agriculture direct payments and federal crop insurance. Crawford said, “Farmers understand that everybody has to chin the bar […] To the extent that this is fair, OK, we understand that we have to cut.”[H Con Res 34, Vote #277, 4/15/11; Reuters, 4/05/11; Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/15/11]

 

Crawford Voted for Free Trade Deal with South Korea That Excluded Rice After He Said it “Set Terrible Precedent.” In 2011, Crawford voted to implement the South Korea Trade Agreement, even though it excluded rice. Prior to the vote, Crawford said, “The exclusion of rice I believe sets a terrible precedent that will haunt U.S. negotiators in future deals […] Rice is one of the most important import sensitive foods around the globe.” [CQ Congressional transcripts, accessed 2/23/12; HR 3080, Vote #783, 10/12/11]

 

1st District Accounted for 63 Percent of Arkansas’ Total Subsidies. In 2010, Arkansas 1st Congressional District accounted for 63 percent of Arkansas’ total subsidies. Arkansas received $1.8 billion in direct farm payments from 1995 to 2009. [Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, 4/15/11]