Higher-income farmers and the crop-insurance industry are likely going to cope with reduced federal cost share on crop insurance premiums.
Both the House and Senate Agriculture Committees passed farm bills out of committee without any income limits on crop-insurance premium subsidies. Through a bill amendment and a Sense of the House resolution, both chambers recognized that cutting back the premium subsidy is one small area of bi-partisan agreement among House and Senate leaders.
The Senate farm bill lowers the premium subsidy for farmers making more than $750,000 in adjusted gross income, or $1.5 million for married couples. Those higher-income farmers would see their premium subsidy lowered 15 percentage points, from a maximum of 62% to 47%. The provision would affect about 20,000 farmers and save $1 billion over 10 years.
The Democratic-led Senate voted 59-33 in May with 40 Democrats and 19 Republicans backing the amendment.
In the House, attempts to add the language to the farm bill had largely fallen on deaf ears, until late last week. On Friday evening, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., saw his resolution tightening income eligibility pass the House on a voice vote. The language was comparable to the Senate provisions. While a voice vote doesn't get everyone on record, the resolution does show GOP House leaders support the provision.
Conferees will have to begrudgingly keep the income cap or find some way to pivot around the issue.
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