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Federal Legislation

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December 1, 2015
 
Cuts to the Federal Crop Insurance Program Restored in Highway Bill
 
We have some breaking (and exciting) news to report: a repeal of the provision cutting $3 billion from the Federal Crop Insurance Program (FCIP) is included in a long-term Highway Funding Bill currently scheduled to be voted on this week in both the House and Senate.  If the Highway Funding Bill passes this would mark a huge legislative victory for the Big “I” and the thousands of crop insurance agents we represent.  It is important to note that offsets (aka “pay-for”) to restore funding to the FCIP did not come from any other Agriculture program, which would have required a reopening of the 2014 Farm Bill.
 
As you will recall, despite strong objection from many agriculture groups, language to cut the FCIP was inserted into the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Agreement negotiated last month. As soon as we were made aware of the cuts, in addition to lobbying on Capitol Hill the Big “I” launched an extensive grassroots campaign working with our state associations urging Congress to repeal the funding reduction. This overwhelming grassroots push from Big “I” agents across the country helped bolster our Congressional allies who negotiated a fix to the cuts. 
 
House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway (R-TX) proved to be a true champion for our cause, immediately denouncing the cuts and negotiating an agreement with House Leadership to restore the funds to the program in an end of the year spending package (Omnibus). While Chairman Conaway held the torch for the FCIP, his efforts were complemented by Rep. Colin Peterson (D-MN) in the House and Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) and Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in the Senate.
 
With all of the uncertainty currently surrounding federal government funding via the Omnibus, the decision was made to restore the FCIP funds via the Highway Bill which is considered by many to be “must-pass” legislation rather than the Omnibus.  This provides greater certainty for us and is something the Big “I” and other FCIP supporters had requested before the Thanksgiving break.  As for next steps, we currently anticipate the Highway Bill being voted on this week without amendments, and if the bill passes, President Obama is expected to sign it into law.
 
Please stay tuned for additional updates on the bill and read News & Views this Thursday for more details. Thanks again to all who engaged in our “call to action” showing the strength of Big “I” advocacy and playing a prominent role in preserving the FCIP.  At this time we are not relaunching grassroots but that could change very quickly.  We will keep you posted.



Where We Stand provides background on major insurance-related federal legislative issues. Every spring more than a thousand agents visit Capitol Hill offices to lobby members of the House, Senate and their staffs on issues that directly impact independent agents and consumers.  2014 Where We Stand on Legislative Issues.pdf2014 Where We Stand on Legislative Issues.pdf

This year’s brochure discusses: agent licensing reform, insurance regulation, terrorism insurance, health care, tax reform, federal crop insurance, flood insurance, InsurPac and grassroots programs.

Below are a list of 2014 Press Releases from the Big "I" on national issues:
Big “I” Applauds House Passage of Flood Insurance Legislation (March 4, 2014)
House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy to Address Big “I" (Feb. 27, 2014)
Big “I” to Host Political Panel Featuring Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson (Feb. 10, 2014)
Big “I” Applauds Senate Passage of Five-Year Farm Bill (Feb. 4, 2014)
Big “I” Testifies Before Congress on Modernizing Insurance Regulation (Feb. 4, 2014)
Big “I” to Testify Before Congress on Insurance Regulation (Jan. 31, 2014)
Big “I” Applauds Senate Passage of Bill on Agent Licensing and Flood Insurance (Jan. 30, 2014)
Big “I” Applauds House Passage of Five-Year Farm Bill (Jan. 29, 2014)
Rep. Steve Stivers to Address Big “I” Young Agents & InsurPac Leadership (Jan. 23, 2014)
Big “I” Political Action Committee Raises More Than $1 Million in 2013 (Jan. 7, 2014)
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