Wednesday, July 18, 2007
2007 Farm Bill Hearings Begin
Congressman Tim Walberg has publicly made the 2007 Farm Bill a top priority, holding special town hall meetings for it. Yesterday, the full Agriculture Committee began its hearings on the subject. Natasha Chart at MyDD offers a good (and nonpartisan) summary of the first day. The whole thing is worth reading, but here's the part relevant to Tim Walberg:
Representatives Marilyn Musgrave (R-CO) and Tim Walberg (R-MI) both expressed reservations about inclusion of Davis-Bacon Wage Determinations in the bill. This standard "determines prevailing wage rates to be paid on federally funded or assisted construction projects," and is included as a requirement for biorefineries built with federal loan guarantees. The idea is alarming enough to Representatives Randy Neugebauer (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA) and Michael Conaway (R-TX), that they've offered an amendment, number 51, to strike that language from the bill.Walberg's opening statement to the committee can be found here. In it, he says:
This is my first Farm Bill, and as a freshman member, serving the people of south-central Michigan is both an honor and a privilege. Agriculture is the leading industry in my district, and the outcome of this bill will be very important to my farmers and agri-business. I do have some concerns about this bill. I am particularly concerned with the coming discussion about Davis-Bacon provisions and value-added agriculture products, and I will work for some necessary changes.So what are these Davis-Bacon wage provisions? Wikipedia tells us this:
The Davis-Bacon Act of 1931 is a United States federal law which established the requirement for paying prevailing wages on public works projects. All federal government construction contracts, and most contracts for federally assisted construction over $2,000, must include provisions for paying workers on-site no less than the locally prevailing wages and benefits paid on similar projects.In other words, the federal government can't get away with paying workers less than they could make in similar, privately-funded projects.
In this context, it would guarantee that if the federal government makes loans for building biorefineries for production of biofuels, the workers building the refineries would have to be paid as much as they would be at other, similar construction projects.
And Tim Walberg doesn't like that.
I'll be honest, I don't know as much about agriculture as I should. If there are any readers out there with experience or knowledge in the area, let me know and help educate us on the details of this farm bill.
Walberg is going to have a tough time getting anything accomplished in this farm bill because his main financial backers, the Club for Growth are very hostile to farm subsidies. You can do all kinds of web searches and see how much respect Walberg's Wall Street backers have for us out in the hinterlands.
Also, Walberg attacked Joe Schwarz for supporting farm bill programs, especially the ones which dealt with public university research projects. I wonder what all of the Michigan State University Alumni think about trusting Walberg to fight for research dollars for the ag programs at MSU? He won't, MSU will suffer, and one of the greatest academic institutions in the nation will suffer.
I'd say we are in trouble, but our farmers are in more trouble.
This is a hoot! Wonder if Tim wore a helmet today?
Just ask me! I'm supposed to be a big Farm Bill guy!Post a Comment
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