WASHINGTON — The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) praised Congress for reversing a $3 billion cut to the budget of the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP). Restoration of the funds came in the form of an amendment to a highway spending measure that was approved by the House and the Senate on December 3. “This is a significant victory for America’s farmers and for our nation’s entire agriculture sector,” said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. “PIA insurance agents around the country engaged in an active campaign of advocacy to get these cuts restored, which contributed to this success.”
The legislative action delivered on promises made by congressional leadership to reverse the cuts, which had been included in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (H.R. 1314).
A last-minute attempt to strip the crop provision out of the highway bill in the Senate failed overwhelmingly, by a vote of 75-22.
“We are very pleased that Congress delivered on its promise,” Gentile said. “House and Senate leaders quickly responded to the calls from their constituents by pledging to make the crop insurance program whole again. These cuts would have seriously jeopardized the private sector delivery of crop insurance.”
The crop insurance program has already contributed more than $12 billion to reducing government spending since 2008. Often the alternative to crop insurance is ad hoc disaster assistance—which is not delivered in a timely manner, is paid entirely by the taxpayer, and does not provide the confidence needed by lenders to provide farmers with capital.
Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street AmericaSM. PIA’s web address is www.pianet.com.