The Brazilian cotton growers couldn’t win this one, and they didn't.
Among other amendments approved by the full House on the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill, members voted to prohibit the use of funds to provide payments to the Brazil Cotton Institute ($147 million). The amendment passed on a vote of 223-197.
You may ask: why we are paying the Brazilian Cotton Institute anyway?
From The Packer’s June 2010 coverage:
U.S., Brazil agree to negotiate trade dispute
U.S. tree fruit exporters dodged a bullet with news that the U.S. and Brazil agreed to negotiate a settlement over a cotton dispute.
Before the announcement on April 6, tariffs were set to rise on April 8 from 10% to 30% for U.S. exports of fresh cherries, pears and plums to Brazil.
The commodities were among a list of more than 100 U.S. items approved a month ago for new tariffs by Brazil's Council of Ministers of the Chamber of External Trade.
Altogether, the tariffs could have totaled nearly $600 million a year. The World Trade Organization approved the tariffs because Brazil argued, and the WTO agreed, that U.S. cotton subsidies violated world trade rules.
Under the agreement, the U.S. will provide $147.3 million per year in technical assistance and capacity building in Brazil until the next farm bill or until a mutually agreed solution to the cotton dispute is reached, whichever is sooner.
Is this feel-good, sound-bite worthy defunding of Brazilian cotton growers a pyrrhic victory? (Pyrrhic: a victory with devastating cost to the victor)
Well, most likely so, if the Senate version of the 2012 budget agrees with the House. The Senate may mark up their version of agriculture appropriations in September.
If denied agreed-on payoffs, Brazil will likely take it out on the hides of U.S. exporters, and chief among them, our very own fruit marketers. Stay tuned for rumblings from Brazil….
As with Brazilian cotton farmers, the National WIC Association is not pleased with the work of the House. An email from the group said the 2012 appropriations bill is woefully inadequate and will cut 13% in WIC food resources and 10% from nutrition services.
“Quite simply WIC will be underfunded by at least $782 million off of NWA’s recommendation of $6.83 billion and by at least $686 million off of the Fiscal Year 2011 funding level,” the association said. The result will be that between 200,000 and 350,000 moms and children will be denied WIC benefits, the group believes.
Here are more amendments approved by the House on the ag appropriations bill, as described by the leadership of the House Appropriations Committee:
House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers today commended the House for passing H.R. 2112, the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The legislation funds the various programs within the Department of Agriculture and related agencies, and totals $125.5 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, a reduction of more than $7 billion from the President’s request. The bill reduces discretionary spending by $2.7 billion from last year’s level – a cut of more than $5 billion from the President’s request. The bill passed on a vote of 217-203.
A summary of amendments to the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill that were approved by the House follow:
DeLauro (D-CT) The amendment cuts and adds back $136 million at the same point in the bill, to express support for funding for the Commodities Futures Trading Commission. The amendment makes no change to the bill. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Fortenberry (R-NE) The amendment cuts $1 million from the Office of the Chief Information Officer and transfers it to the Rural Energy for America Program. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Sessions (R-TX) The amendment strikes the provision in the bill prohibiting private competition on certain commercial contracts by the Agriculture Department until a report is made to Congress on government contracting. This will allow contracts to private entities to move forward in the near term. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 226-199.
Farr (D-CA) The amendment transfers $300,000 from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities to Agricultural Marketing Services (AMS). The AMS provides standardization, grading and market services for major commodities. The amendment was adopted on a vote of 352-70.
Clarke (D-MI) The amendment adds $5 million for child nutrition, offset by a cut to the Departmental Administration account. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Young (R-IN) The amendment cuts the USDA general administration account by 10% ($2.4 million). The amendment was adopted on voice vote.
Foxx (R-NC) The amendment prohibits funds in the bill from being used for the USDA "know your farmer, know your food" imitative. The amendment passed on a vote of 212-201.
Kind (D-WI) The amendment prohibits the use of funds to provide payments to the Brazil Cotton Institute ($147 million). The amendment passed on a vote of 223-197.
Nugent (R-FL) The amendment adds $2 million to Agriculture Research Service, offset by a cut to the Foreign Agriculture Service of $2.5 million. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Kingston (R-GA) The amendment reduces discretionary funding in the bill by .78 percent ($147 million). This amendment was necessary to ensure the bill complies with an existing World Trade Organization agreement (WTO). The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Young (R-AK) The amendment prohibits funds for the FDA to approve genetically engineered salmon. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Royce (R-CA) The amendment prohibits funding for Food for Peace assistance to North Korea. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Chaffetz (R-UT) The amendment prohibits funding for salaries and expenses of personnel who provide nonrecourse marketing assistance loans for mohair. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Gibson (R-NY) The amendment cuts $6 million from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities and Rental Payments and transfers the funding to Rural Broadband Loans. The amendment passed on a vote of 221-198.
King (R-IA) #2 The amendment prohibits funding in the bill for any telemedicine services related to the drug mifepristone, commonly known as RU-486. The amendment passed on a vote of 240-176.
Engel (D-NY) The amendment prohibits funding to lease or purchase new light duty vehicles, for any executive fleet, or for an agency's fleet inventory, except in accordance with Presidential Memorandum-Federal Fleet Performance, dated May 24, 2011. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Garrett (R-NJ) The amendment requires that commodity swap data reporting rules to be finalized and in effect for 12 months before the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) can lock in final trade blocks or real-time reporting rules. This will allow industry time to comply with any new rules. The amendment passed on a vote of 231-189.
Scalise (R-LA) The amendment prohibits funding for Department of Agriculture Regulations titled "Policy Statement on Climate Change Adaption." This type of policy statement is unnecessary, and potentially wastes staff time and department resources. The amendment passed on a vote of 238-179.
Hirono (D-HI) The amendment transfers $3 million from Agriculture Buildings and Facilities and Rental Payments to Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program. The amendment passed on a vote of 288-132.
Flake (R-AZ) #1 The amendment prohibits funding for the construction of an ethanol blender pump or an ethanol storage facility. The amendment passed on a vote of 283-128.
Gardner (R-CO) The amendment cuts $4.4 million from research and education activities at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture and transfers the funds to Integrated Activities. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.
Flores (R-TX) Prohibits funds from being used to enforce the section of the Energy Independence and Security Act that deals with the acquisition of alternative fuels. The amendment was adopted on a voice vote.