The House also rejected amendments to change key components of current farm law related to determination of eligibility and limitations on benefits.

Rep. Blumenauer (D-Ore.) proposed capping annual payments for direct payments, counter-cyclical payments, loan deficiency payments and marketing loan gains at $125,000 per crop year. Rep. Flake proposed amendments that would have: 1) denied all farm program benefits if an individual’s adjusted gross income exceeds $250,000 and 2) eliminated funding for USDA’s Market Access Program (MAP).

Parker said the U.S. cotton industry understands the gravity of the current budget situation but reiterated that Congress went through a lengthy debate during 2008 farm bill development before imposing tighter eligibility requirements and establishing limitations on benefits.

It is anticipated that both agriculture committees will debate eligibility and limitation provisions in the next farm bill, and Parker emphasized that, “the U.S. cotton industry is committed to work with Congress to achieve a balanced and reasonable approach to these critical issues so that the farm safety net for U.S. agriculture is available to all commercially viable operations.”

The NCC expressed great disappointment that the House approved an amendment by Reps. Kind (D-Wisc.) and Flake that would prohibit the transfer of funds to the Brazilian Cotton Institute. If enacted this would result in the United States violating the Framework Agreement negotiated by the US and Brazilian governments.

The agreement allowed Brazil to withhold implementation of prohibitively high tariffs on US exports and provided for a series of consultations that could lead to a resolution of the dispute.

Parker said the Kind amendment — the latest in a long line of attempts to undermine or alter the 2010 Framework Agreement achieved by the US and Brazilian governments — places the United States in violation of the agreement, undermines the good work of US officials, and exposes a broad range of US sectors to harmful trade retaliatory measures by Brazil on up to $800 million in U.S. exports.

“The NCC is committed to work with Congress and the Administration to ensure the U.S. can continue to comply with the Framework Agreement to avoid serious disruption in trade and to identify a solution to the dispute,” Parker said.