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USDA Spending Accountability Act Introduced

A group of farm-state Senators Tuesday introduced the USDA Spending Accountability Act. The bill was introduced by Republican Senators Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Roger Marshall of Kansas and Mike Braun of Indiana. The legislation would limit the disbursal of funds through the USDA’s financing institution, known as the Commodity Credit Cooperation, to be permitted only when authorized by Congress.

The Secretary of Agriculture has broad discretionary authority in spending excess CCC funds. This includes reimbursing farmers for losses due to trade disputes and funding climate grants, often to multinational corporations. Recent instances of discretionary spending abuse have prompted bipartisan concern, as these programs are enacted without input from Congress and allow USDA to act as authorizer and appropriator.

Grassley said; “Secretaries of Agriculture, both Republican and Democrat, have used excess funds in the CCC, for their own agenda. It’s become one of the most costly tools in the farm safety net. Importantly, it will stop USDA from undermining the role of Congress, in writing the upcoming farm bill.”

By removing this discretionary authority, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the USDA Spending Accountability Act would save $8 billion over ten years. The substantial savings created by this bill would assist Congress in its goal to find savings in the Farm Bill.

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