Policy Plate: Ag Committee Takes Big Step Backwards
In the early hours Thursday, the House Agriculture Committee marked up and passed a bill that is quite simply the worst piece of food and farm legislation in recent memory. In a statement released earlier today, Environmental Working Group’s Scott Faber said:
The committee’s farm bill increases unlimited subsidies for the largest and most profitable farm businesses. As millions of families struggle to put food on the table, the bill cuts funding for critical nutrition assistance programs by $16.1 billion. And with water, land and wildlife habitat under unprecedented assault by industrial agriculture, the committee’s bill slashes environmental programs by more than $6 billion while gutting regulation of pesticides, forestry, and genetically modified crops.
Click here to read the full statement.
The House bill would feed fewer people, help fewer farmers, do less to promote healthy diets and weaken environmental protections – and it would cost far more than Congressional bean counters say.
The New York Times quotes R.J. Lehmann, public affairs director at the R Street Institute, on the House farm bill: “Rather than simply ending the direct payment program and saving $50 billion, the House instead creates expensive new entitlement programs that could ring up huge costs. This is a failure of the freshman class. They came into office promising to cut spending, but you don’t hear a peep of objection from them.”
Reuter’s Chuck Abbott underscores the lack of reform to lavish crop insurance subsidies offered by the House when compared to the Senate version of the farm bill.
In an op-ed in the Oklahoman, farmer James Bernard laments the number of farmers turned away from conservation programs before the Senate and House’s proposed cuts and says “If we don't invest in protecting our land and water against extreme weather, we'll pay for it down the road.”
Minnesota journalist Ken Korczak observes: “Gigantic subsidies for big farms have another effect – it’s driving people off the land in rural Minnesota. Here in Kittson County, the population has shrunk by a 30% in each of the past two Census counts.”
Tweets of the Day:
?@RepMcGovern This Farm Bill literally takes food out of the mouths of poor seniors, women & children. These immoral cuts are wrong & we will fight them
Go here to sign up:
Tips? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org