Public Laws

Federal Agriculture Improvement and
Reform Act of 1996
Public Law 104-127

Freedom to Farm Act of 1996 Pub. L. 104-127; 110 Stat. 888; April 4, 1996; H.R. 2854 (104th Congress)

General  Information

Public Law: Pub. L. 104-127

Stat. At Large: 110 Stat. 888

Enacted:  April 4, 1996

Bill Number: H.R. 2854 (104th Congress)

Sponsor: Rep. Pat Roberts [R-KS]

Note: This act is notable insofar as it is one instance when a House Committee was unable to complete its reconciliation instructions, and the Budget Committee chairman acted to have compliant legislative text inserted into the bill by the House Rules Committee before its consideration. The Balanced Budget Act of 1995 (Vetoed) was the reconciliation bill and the House Agriculture Committee could not muster the votes to submit its “Freedom to Farm” legislative text. Budget Committee chairman John R. Kasich recommended to the Rules Committee to include the Chairman of the Agriculture Committee’s legislation. The legislation was the Freedom to Farm Act, authored by Rep. Pat Roberts (later Senator).

This Act is also referenced in section 257(b)(2)(A)(ii) (BBEDCA), relating to the preparation of the Baseline.

Applicable Text of Statute

Section 257(b)(2) (BBEDCA), as amended by this Act, reads as follows:

(2) Exceptions.—(A)(i) No program established by a law enacted on or before the date of enactment of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997[1] with estimated current year outlays greater than $50,000,000 shall be assumed to expire in the budget year or the outyears. The scoring of new programs with estimated outlays greater than $50,000,000 a year shall be based on scoring by the Committees on Budget or OMB, as applicable. OMB, CBO, and the Budget Committees shall consult on the scoring of such programs where there are differences between CBO and OMB.

(ii) On the expiration of the suspension of a provision of law that is suspended under section 171 of Public Law 104–127[2] and that authorizes a program with estimated fiscal year outlays that are greater than $50,000,000, for purposes of clause (i), the program shall be assumed to continue to operate in the same manner as the program operated immediately before the expiration of the suspension.

(B) The increase for veterans’ compensation for a fiscal year is assumed to be the same as that required by law for veterans’ pensions unless otherwise provided by law enacted in that session.

(C) Excise taxes dedicated to a trust fund, if expiring, are assumed to be extended at current rates.

(D) If any law expires before the budget year or any outyear, then any program with estimated current year outlays greater than $50,000,000 that operates under that law shall be assumed to continue to operate under that law as in effect immediately before its expiration.