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Flake bill blocking agriculture double-dipping would save taxpayers $60B

(AP Photo/Gerry Broome)

PHOENIX — U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) introduced a bill Wednesday that would block some subsidy payments in the agriculture industry, a move that could save taxpayers $60 billion.

The bill, which was also introduced in the House by U.S. Rep. John Duncan (R-Tenn.), would amend the Agricultural Act of 2014. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said the $60 billion in taxpayer savings would be spread out over 10 years.

Under the act, farmers enrolled in the Agricultural Risk Coverage or Price Loss Coverage programs can get up to $125,000 per year when either their crop price or revenue falls below a certain level.

Those same farmers can also receive benefits from the federal crop insurance program — something that has no payment limit and subsidizes more than half of crop costs.

These payouts total more than $1 million annually for some farming businesses.

“Taxpayers shouldn’t be forced to pay twice for the same loss,” Flake said in a release.

“It’s time to pass this commonsense bill and put an end to this $60 billion Farm Bill boondoggle.”

The amended bill would force farmers to enroll in only one agricultural government program.

Flake has been an advocate of cutting what he sees as excessive costs to taxpayers during his time in office.

He has released multiple reports about trimming so-called “pork-barrel spending” and releases a Wastebook each year highlighting programs that could be dropped.

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