Since you sent me to Washington, I have looked carefully at each piece of legislation that was brought for a vote. Each time, I look at how it would impact the hardworking folks of southeast and southern Missouri. Next, I look to see if the legislation was crafted fairly, and if it upholds the traditions and values of our area. Given the rushed non-transparent process around this week’s budget bill, I wasn’t surprised when I opened page one and found a bad deal for hardworking taxpayers and farmers. The only reasonable option was to vote no.
This budget deal sets the spending levels for government agencies for the next two years. It sets a new baseline which blows up the sequester caps and increases spending by over $80 billion. As the owner of our family farm, I know that in business we can’t keep increasing lines of credit without reforms or changes to make the business more sustainable. Washington needs to operate the same way. We need people making these decisions who have experience signing the front of the check, not just the back.
It was a huge disappointment that this bill failed to live up to the open and fair process that was promised to the American people. The budget bill was released to the public and to members of Congress a little over 36 hours before the vote. That is unacceptable. Unlike bills that follow the proper path, these 144 pages were not studied by a committee and did not allow for conversations between members or input from families from around the country.
One of the most devastating parts of the bill is the cut to crop insurance. Farmers are already having a tough go; net farm income is projected to drop 53 percent from 2013 to 2015. Government should be making it easier to get ahead, not harder. The government is squeezing crop insurance providers so much that they may no longer be able to stay in business. If that happens, the government would step in, effectively setting up a government takeover of crop insurance. The bill passed despite my opposition, and I am working tirelessly to get this fixed.
Folks rightfully expect Congress to fund America’s priorities, but this budget deal does not help people get ahead. It creates more problems that we are going to have fix down the road. We have a long way to go, but I am fighting every day for the people I represent and to make government work for you, not against you.
Jason Smith represents Missouri’s 8th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives. Contact him at 573-335-0101 or visit https://jasonsmith.house.gov