Issue Brief posted April 30, 2015
The House Energy and Water Appropriations Bill Misses the Mark
This week, the Energy and Water Development appropriations bill is likely to receive floor consideration. One of 12 appropriations bills providing discretionary funding for the federal government, this bill provides funding for projects under the direction of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps); the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation; the Department…
Issue Brief posted April 7, 2015
Congress Should Separate Food Stamps from Agricultural Programs
About every five years, Congress passes a farm bill. Despite its name, the farm bill covers more than just agricultural programs. In reality, food stamps account for about 80 percent of the projected cost of the 2014 farm bill.
Agricultural programs and food stamps should not be combined into one bill. Instead, they should be considered on their own merits in separate…
Backgrounder posted March 31, 2015
Achievable Economic Policy Reforms for Congress
Congress can pass legislation this year that would make a significant difference in the lives of Americans. Despite the perception of partisan gridlock, broad support exists for many important domestic economic policy reforms. These policies are ambitious but achievable, and, if adopted, would promote economic growth, empower individuals, and reduce government waste.…
Issue Brief posted February 10, 2015
Capping the Costs of the Two Major New Commodity Programs
The 2014 farm bill eliminated the infamous direct payments program that gave farmers subsidies regardless of need. Instead of stopping there and making real progress, Congress created two new commodity programs, Agricultural Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC), which will likely cost as much as and probably far more than the direct payments program. The farm…
Issue Brief posted November 18, 2014
The EPA and the Corps’s CWA Interpretive Rule: A Regulatory End Run
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Army Corps of Engineers released an interpretive rule narrowing an important Clean Water Act (CWA) exemption for agricultural activities. It was released at the same time they released their proposed “waters of the U.S.” rule that would greatly expand the waters the federal government can regulate under the CWA.
Issue Brief posted October 1, 2014
Another EPA and Army Corps Power Grab: Limiting Exemptions for Agriculture Under the CWA
Agricultural activities will likely be far more costly and difficult, at least if the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) get their way. In addition to their controversial “waters of the U.S.” proposed rule that would expand the waters that the federal government can regulate under the Clean Water Act (CWA), the EPA and Corps…
Issue Brief posted August 19, 2014
Reining in the EPA Through the Power of the Purse
While significant criticism is rightfully directed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on issues such as greenhouse gas (GHG) regulation, Congress itself is to blame for not reasserting its lawmaking power over an agency that is supposed to be implementing the will of Congress, not the will of the agency.
Through the appropriations process, Congress can rein in…
Issue Brief posted July 10, 2014
FDA’s Artificial Trans Fat “Ban”: A Dangerous Step to Control Personal Dietary Choices
In November 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published its tentative determination to revoke the Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) status for partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which are the primary dietary source of artificial trans fat. As explained in a recent FDA update, “If FDA determines that PHOs are not GRAS, it could, in effect, mean the end of…
Backgrounder posted May 30, 2014
Addressing Waste, Abuse, and Extremism in USDA Programs
The federal debt is now more than $17 trillion. Congress needs to significantly cut spending across the board, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is no exception.
Spending decisions are about more than just numbers; they reflect policy preferences. Congress should assert its lawmaking and spending powers to control expenditures and to formulate sound policy.…