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Congress Should Reject Efforts to Give Away Its Spending Power to Create a Massive USDA Slush Fund

July 16, 2020

Congress is considering using the coronavirus pandemic as a pretext to make permanent and sweeping changes to agricultural policy, inappropriately delegating congressional spending power to the Agriculture Secretary.

From the study:

Current legislation in Congress reflects the unfortunate mantra that no crisis should go to waste. Specifically, two proposals would use COVID-19 as a pretext to give the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture even more spending discretion—permanently—under the Commodity Credit Corporation Charter Act (Charter Act), allowing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to spend tens of billions more dollars each year using this discretionary authority.

These two proposals would be yet another example of Congress delegating its lawmaking power (in this case, spending power) to a federal agency. The Agriculture Secretary would have more power to spend taxpayer dollars while Congress fails to take accountability for the billions of dollars that would be handed over to agricultural special interests.

Daren Bakst is the Research Fellow in Agricultural Policy at the Heritage Foundation and policy advisor for The Heartland Institute. @darenbakst