The Ag Minute: House Farm Bill Addresses Regulatory Burdens to Get Economy Moving

Tamara Hinton, 202.225.0184

WASHINGTON – This week during The Ag Minute, guest host Rep. Stephen Fincher discusses one of the many regulatory relief measures included in H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013. The measure is H.R. 1287, the Sound Science Act of 2013, which requires federal agencies to develop policy based on scientific integrity. The bill requires federal agencies to have in effect guidelines to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of the scientific information upon which the agencies rely. It further prohibits agencies from making policy decisions without such guidelines in place. The U.S. House of Representatives adopted the measure as part of the House farm bill.

Click here to listen to The Ag Minute. The transcript is below.

"Hi I’m Stephen Fincher from the eighth district of Tennessee. 

"It’s not just taxes and deficit spending that we must address to get our economy moving.  We must also tackle the regulatory burden that inhibits job creation, economic growth, and threatens the livelihoods of America’s farmers.

"We have focused a great deal in this Congress on ensuring that our federal agencies use the best science available when making policy decisions.  In fact, I introduced a bill – H.R. 1287, the Sound Science Act of 2013 – requiring federal agencies to develop policy that adheres to the scientific method.  This bill is included as part of other regulatory relief measures in the House farm bill.

"It is a sensible, bipartisan approach that actually started as part of a White House initiative in 2009.  Unfortunately, after more than four years, some departments and agencies are not making progress on this front.  Even the left-leaning Union of Concerned Scientists gave some agencies, including USDA, a lackluster review in a progress report.  They noted that the departments are not demonstrating an adequate commitment to scientific integrity.

"My amendment that’s part of the farm bill attempts to address some of these inadequacies.  It clarifies that scientific information must be supported by peer review when appropriate; ensures that scientific studies used in making policy decisions are disclosed to the public with a requirement to allow stakeholder input.  It also allows stakeholders to challenge any regulatory action that violates an agency’s scientific integrity guidelines.

"This provision and many other regulatory relief measures are compelling reasons why we need to pass a farm bill this year.  We need to lighten the regulatory load for our farmers and small businesses in rural America."

The Ag Minute is Chairman Lucas's weekly radio address that is released from the House Agriculture Committee.