The Farm Bill Conference Report

PAYGO Waived Hiding Billions in New Costs

After running out of gimmicks to hide the true cost of the Farm Bill Conference Report (H.R. 2419), the Democratic Majority has decided to waive the House pay-as-you-go [PAYGO] rule. As a result, the Farm Bill coming to the floor today includes $23 billion in new costs over the baseline, more than double the $10 billion being claimed by the conferees. The $13 billion difference is achieved through numerous gimmicks and even two explicit PAYGO violations. Here are the details of how the Farm Bill makes a mockery of the PAYGO rules:

  • Baseline Shopping, Part 1: (Using Outdated Budget Estimates). In the past year, food prices and farm incomes have skyrocketed. But the Farm Bill conferees have decided to ignore today’s reality and instead score the Farm Bill using last year’s numbers and projections under the 2007 baseline.
    • Using last year’s baseline is not only inaccurate, but is an explicit violation of PAYGO, which requires use of the updated 2008 baseline.
    • This PAYGO violation conveniently hides $3.1 billion in new spending over 10 years. If the Farm Bill followed the rules and instead used the updated baseline, it would violate PAYGO by $2.9 billion over 10 years and a whopping $7.4 billion over 5 years.
    • If only Americans could buy groceries and gas at last year’s prices the way Congress scores Farm Bills.

Read the full report here.