Flake, Shaheen introduce Crop Insurance Reform Bill

The Assisting Family Farmers through Insurance Reform Measures (AFFIRM) Act was introduced Thursday by Sens. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH).

AFFIRM (S. 2244) is a bipartisan reform bill that has the potential to save taxpayers $24.4 billion in the next decade. The bill would lower the Standard Reinsurance Agreement (SRA) rate of return from 14.5 percent to 8.9 percent, saving taxpayers an estimated $3 billion.

It would also eliminate a restriction in the 2014 Farm Bill prohibiting USDA from getting any savings from renegotiating the SRA.

Thirdly, it would eliminate subsidies known as Harvest Price Option, saving $19 billion.

“Taxpayers and farmers alike deserve a federal crop insurance program that realistically reflects our current fiscal situation, and – with over $24 billion in savings – that’s exactly what this bill delivers,” Flake said.

Finally, it would limit the total value of crop insurance subsidies to $40,000 per person each year and eliminate subsidies for those with a gross income of more than $250,000, saving taxpayers an estimated $2.3 billion. 

“The costs of this program are skyrocketing unnecessarily,” Shaheen said. “We can ensure protections for farmers without putting taxpayers on the hook for excessive subsidies to insurance companies and large agri-businesses that don’t need the help. We are proposing common-sense reforms that will save taxpayers billions of dollars, and Congress ought to act on this bipartisan proposal.”

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U.S. Senator Jeff Flake

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