Farm Bill, PATH Act, and Obamacare

Jul 15, 2013 Issues: Financial Services, Government Accountability, Health Care, Agriculture

Farm Bill Passes House
As you know, the House failed to pass the Farm Bill in June.  At that time, I committed to you that I would continue to work with my colleagues on a five year bill that provides certainty to our farmers.  Last week, The House decided to split the farm support programs from the nutrition programs.  We passed H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013, by a vote of 216-208.   This bill saves taxpayers nearly $14 billion over the next ten years and improves efficiency by consolidating more than 100 programs.  It also moves to a much more market-oriented framework for agricultural support and ends direct payments.  In their place, we strengthened crop insurance where farmers pay premiums to insure their crops and get support in the years that they suffer losses.  I think this is a good bill for farmers, families, and taxpayers. 

What’s next? We’ll convene something called a conference committee to work out the differences between the House and the Senate versions.  It’s not yet clear how we’ll deal with nutrition policy, but I’m committed to eliminating waste, fraud, and abuse of food stamps.  I’m looking forward to moving this process forward and getting this signed into law.

 

Making our Housing Markets Work for Homebuyers
Did you know that taxpayers guarantee nine out of every ten new mortgages in our country?  Look around any new neighborhoods being built nearby.  Most likely, only one or two of the mortgages on houses on that block are not guaranteed by the federal government.  That’s problematic for a number of reasons. 

First, that much government involvement crowds out private sector participation in the market.  That means fewer choices for you when it comes time to buy a home and get a mortgage. Second, when the government is the driving force behind the housing sector, rather than the free market, it allows bureaucrats to pick winners and losers in our housing markets.  Finally, it means that taxpayers are exposed to trillions of dollars in risk. Taxpayers have already spent $200 billion to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which were at the center of the financial crisis.  Currently, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) has a value of negative $16 billion, which is paving the way for yet another taxpayer-funded bailout. Americans deserve a better housing finance model – one that’s built to last and is sustainable for homeowners and taxpayers over the long run. 

I’ve helped put together a bill to fix this broken system and make it work for homeowners once again.  The Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners (PATH) Act will ensure our housing markets are healthy, strong, and stable.  We’ll phase out Fannie and Freddie over five years and require FHA to use sound business practices and scale back to its original mission of helping first-time and low-income homebuyers.  The PATH Act increases competition, enhances transparency, and maximizes consumer choice. 

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be refining this legislation to help protect taxpayers and homebuyers.  You can learn more at the Financial Services Committee

 

Action Item: Getting Rid of Obamacare
This week, the House will vote to delay both the employer mandate and the individual mandate under Obamacare.  As you know, last week, the Obama Administration announced it would delay the employer mandate of the law for a year.  That was a political ploy, and it doesn’t make any sense—delaying one mandate and not the other just puts even more burdens on individuals.  The House is considering delaying both mandates by a year, so that we have more time to work to repeal this broken law and pass solutions that work for you and your family. What do you think? Share your thoughts by answering the Question of the Week.