Goodlatte seeks House Judiciary Committee review of 2013 Farm Bill 

Editor's note: National Milk Producers Federation comments added


U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) released a statement today after a House Judiciary Committee mark-up of H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013. Goodlatte, chair of the House Judiciary Committee, introduced an amendment that would ensure regulations imposed under the FARRM Act are subject to promulgation under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Congressional Review Act, which fall under the jurisdiction of the House Judiciary Committee.

Specifically, Goodlatte wants review of rules establishing the Dairy Market Stabilization Program, which is part of the Dairy Security Act, the dairy title of the proposed farm bill.

The version of the bill reported by the House Agriculture Committee last month waived this requirement. Goodlatte’s amendment passed the House Judiciary Committee by voice vote with bipartisan support.


NMPF: Amendment a good compromise

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) said a House Judiciary Committee vote requiring the Farm Bill’s dairy reform program to go through regular government rulemaking was a reasonable compromise to get the reform program approved. However, NMPF said the Goodlatte amendment was another attempt to sidetrack a dairy policy proposal already approved by the House Ag Committee.

“This is the latest attempt at compromise by Congressman Goodlatte on a program that has been approved twice by the House Agriculture Committee and that dairy farmers overwhelmingly support,” said NMPF President and CEO Jerry Kozak.

“It’s time to end the divisiveness and approve reform of the federal dairy program,” Kozak added. “For that reason, we see today’s vote, which appears to accept that the Dairy Security Act  (DSA) will become law, as a good compromise.”

Goodlatte tried unsuccessfully to modify the DSA in the Agriculture Committee both this year and in 2012. That amendment would have eliminated the program’s market stabilization provisions, which give farmers the option of temporarily scaling back their milk production or contributing a portion of their milk check to purchase dairy products to feed the needy in order to bring supplies more in line with demand.

“Having lost in the Agriculture Committee, Chairman Goodlatte brought up a new amendment in the committee he chairs,” said Kozak. It calls for interim federal rules for the market stabilization aspects of the DSA nine months after enactment and final regulations in 21 months.

“While this is not the approach we chose, we see it as acceptable,” said Kozak. “The important thing is to get dairy reform enacted for the nation’s milk producers. If it requires this amendment to do that, we can live with that.”


Goodlatte’s statement is below:

“Plain and simple, this is a matter of transparency and accountability within the federal rulemaking process. Given the broad changes and economic impacts that programs in the FARRM Act will bring to America’s farmers and ranchers, I believe that the public deserves a full and fair opportunity to comment on the regulations that will determine how these programs will be run.  That’s why I brought this amendment before the Committee today to ensure that the USDA promulgates these regulations under – not exempt from – the Administrative Procedure Act and the Congressional Review Act. 

“To be clear, while this amendment makes important changes to preserve the rulemaking and review requirements under the Administrative Procedure Act and the Congressional Review Act, it does not solve what many believe are the fundamental problems with the Dairy Market Stabilization Program. I do not believe that the Dairy Market Stabilization Program and supply management for dairy should be a part of this legislation, and I will address this when the legislation is brought to the House floor.  However, at minimum Congress should ensure that those affected by this intrusive program have the right to comment on regulations governing the program and that Congress also reserves the right to review the program.”