WASHINGTON, Oct. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) has praised leadership in both the U.S. House and Senate for pledging to reverse deep cuts to crop insurance that were included in the budget agreement to raise the nation's debt limit.
On October 28, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 1314, the "Bipartisan Budget Agreement Act." The bill raises the debt ceiling and sets the federal budget for two years. In order to pay for part of it, the deal calls for a severe cut of $3 billion to the federal crop insurance program.
Over the next two days, members of PIA conducted an intensive grassroots campaign, blanketing Congress with messages urging that no cuts be made to the crop insurance program. Due to the fast moving process on the budget agreement, it was not possible to remove the cuts from the larger budget deal because it would have upended the agreement, which was then passed by the Senate in the early morning hours of October 30.
"PIA thanks the House and Senate leadership for quickly responding to the calls from their constituents by pledging to reverse the cuts to the crop insurance program," said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. "These cuts would seriously jeopardize private sector delivery of crop insurance, part of a successful public-private partnership. America's farmers and consumers deserve better."
House Agriculture committee staff were able to get the House leadership to commit to reverse the cut to crop insurance when Congress takes up the appropriations measure to fund the federal government, which must take place by December 11. Chairman Michael Conaway (R-TX) issued a press release with this pledge.
On October 29, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), during a colloquy on the Senate floor, pledged to work with the House to reverse the cuts to crop insurance when the upcoming federal funding measure is taken up. This colloquy on the Senate floor can be viewed here. Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Pat Roberts (R-KS) also noted his determination to reverse the cuts. Other Senators who spoke on the floor about reversing the cuts were Senators John Cornyn (R-TX) and John Thune (R-SD). Chairman Roberts issued a press release through the Senate Agriculture Committee.
PIA will continue to work with our allies to hold congressional leadership to their word.
"This victory clearly shows the power of grassroots advocacy," Gentile said. "Much is said about gridlock in Washington. This proves that the people have the power to make a real difference, if they choose to exercise it. When they do, Congress will often listen."
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.
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SOURCE National Association of Professional Insurance Agents