House Passes Resolution to Reauthorize Dairy Compact

03/25/02 12:00AM

(Host) Late last week, the Vermont House overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution that calls on Congress to reauthorize the Northeast Dairy Compact.

The resolution was designed to put pressure on Vermont's congressional delegation to go the extra mile for the compact.

North Troy Democrat Bobby Starr drafted the resolution. Starr says the compact is better for farmers and taxpayers than a subsidy proposal now in the farm bill that's before Congress:

(Starr) "Their giveaway program is a BandAid to a pretty serious wound. And whereas the Compact doesn't cost the federal government anything ¿ the money comes from the marketplace where it should be coming from ¿ where theirs is coming directly from the taxpayers. And most farmers that spoke said they would support getting money from the marketplace rather than the taxpayers."

(Host) All three members of Vermont's congressional say they prefer the Compact to the three billion dollar milk subsidy plan. But they say the subsidy is the only solution that seems politically viable.

Starr wants them to do more. He says Vermont's two U.S. senators chair powerful committees and have considerable seniority. He says they should be able to strike some hard bargains:

(Starr) "You know, if you have enough power down there to stop a federal judgeship¿ you ought to get something done that isn't going to cost the taxpayers of this country a penny¿. So yeah, I think it sends down a message, a pretty loud message that, hey, the General Assembly, the State of Vermont, we're the first people that passed the dairy compact, we're the ones that set it all up, and here we are 15 years later ¿ asking our Congressional delegation to get the job done, get it reauthorized."

(Host) A joint House-Senate conference committee is supposed to take up the Farm Bill when Congress returns in April from its spring break.
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