Community Bankers Association of Illinois

'07 Farm Bill Goes to Conference; FCS Expansion Prompts Jurisdiction Fight!

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-MA) and Ranking Member Spencer Bachus (R-AL), along with Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-CT) and Ranking Member Richard Shelby (R-AL), sent a letter yesterday to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN), Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee Chairman Tom Harkin (D-IA), and Ranking Member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) expressing concerns about the possible expansion of the Farm Credit System's lending authority in the upcoming House-Senate conference on the farm bill. Full text of the letter follows:

January 15, 2008

The Honorable Collin Peterson                     The Honorable Tom Harkin
Chairman                                                            Chairman
Committee on Agriculture                                Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
U.S. House of Representatives                      U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515                                    Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Bob Goodlatte                        The Honorable Saxby Chambliss
Ranking Member                                                Ranking Member
Committee on Agriculture                                 Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry
U.S. House of Representatives                       U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20515                                     Washington, DC 20510

Dear Chairman Peterson, Ranking Member Goodlatte, Chairman Harkin, and Ranking Member Chambliss:

As you prepare to go to conference on the 2007 farm bill, we write to express our jurisdictional concern regarding certain proposals by the Farm Credit System (FCS) to expand its lending authority beyond its statutory mission of providing credit to the agricultural sector.

Rule X of the House of Representatives and Senate Rule 25 provide the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, respectively, with jurisdiction over farm credit matters. However, jurisdiction over credit more generally is within the jurisdiction of the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.

Some of the proposals that have emerged from the FCS as a result of the Horizons Project would, in our judgment, so substantially expand its current lending authority beyond the agriculture sector that they would exceed the respective jurisdiction of the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.

We understand and appreciate that these proposals to expand the lending authority of the FCS are in neither the House farm bill nor the Senate farm bill. If you are pressed to consider such proposals during conference, however, we urge you to consult with the House Committee on Financial Services and the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs prior to taking any such action.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding this matter. We appreciate your consideration.

Sincerely,

Barney Frank                                                         Christopher Dodd
Chairman                                                               Chairman
Committee on Financial Service                        Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives                          U.S. Senate

Spencer Bachus                                                     Richard Shelby
Ranking Member                                                    Ranking Member
Committee on Financial Services                       Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
U.S. House of Representatives                           U.S. Senate

Please stay tuned to www.cbai.com for the latest updates on this and other legislative issues!

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