We issued the following news release about two hours ago.
Center for Rural Affairs Rejects Senate Payment Limits Agreement
LYONS, NE – Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs, rejected a negotiated payment limits provision announced today saying, "Conrad made a deal with the devil that won a little more money for commodities at the price of destroying family farming. Like the widely denounced House Bill, the Conrad ruse continues multi-million dollar payments to the nation's largest farms and undermines the one true reform on the table - the Dorgan Grassley amendment."
Earlier, Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) announced that he had struck a deal in farm bill negotiations with key members of the Senate Agriculture Committee, which he chairs. The agreement forms the basis for the draft farm bill that Harkin will present to the Senate Agriculture Committee next week, when they are expected to take up the farm bill.
Senator Kent Conrad (D-ND) announced that the deal includes, among other things, a payment limits provision that closes the three-entity rule and requires direct attribution.
According to the Center for Rural Affairs Senator Conrad’s payment limitation proposal fails to close loopholes that allow the nation's largest farms to receive multi-million dollar farm payments and does virtually nothing to tighten the porous paper limits that have become a point of criticism nationally.
"This deal is the opposite of reform," added Hassebrook.
The agreement was negotiated primarily among Chairman Harkin, Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Senator Conrad (D-ND).