NFU, NSAC, SNAP advocates praise farm bill failure, others say pass it
Arrington: Farm bill failure raises questions about GOP leadership
The House’s failure to pass the farm bill combined with concerns about trade and labor shortages due to the Trump administration’s stands on immigration will lead farmers to raise questions about GOP leadership, a freshman House Republican House member told Bloomberg Friday.
“It certainly will leave a lot of ag producers scratching their heads about our Republican majority and moving these important pieces of legislation through the House,” Rep. Jodey Arrington, R-Texas, said.
Arrington was elected in 2016 to represent a swath of West Texas, including Lubbock and Abilene.
The National Farmers Union, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, nutrition advocates and environmental groups on Friday praised the House for rejecting the Republican-only farm bill, while some farm groups called for its quick passage.
National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson — “The rejection of the House version of the 2018 farm bill highlights the host of concerns that family farmers have with this failed legislation.”
“At a time when farmers and ranchers are in significant financial strain due to years of depressed prices, this bill does not make necessary improvements to the farm safety net,” Johnson said.
“It eliminates conservation programs and funding that provide them with the tools they need to be the best possible stewards of our natural resources. It reverses progress toward expanding their access to local, regional, and specialty markets. And it makes unnecessary cuts to programs that feed hungry Americans.”
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition — “The House farm bill was deeply flawed, and would have undermined decades of collaborative work by farmers and advocates to advance sustainable farm and food systems in the U.S.”
“We strongly urge the House Agriculture Committee to immediately go back to the drawing board and develop a bill of which all Americans can be proud,” NSAC said.
“As it stood, H.R. 2 would have gone down in history as the most anti-family farm and anti-environment farm bill of all time. The bill sought to unravel critical conservation, local food, business development, and organic agriculture programs with long track records of success.
“H.R. 2 also would have created a multitude of new loopholes, allowing unlimited, unchecked taxpayer subsidies for the wealthiest mega-farms. These provisions would have led to consolidation in the countryside, and further exacerbated the challenges that beginning farmers and small and mid-sized family farms face every day.”
Center for Budget Policies and Priorities President Robert Greenstein — “The just-defeated bill would have moved America in the wrong direction by taking food assistance away from many who need it.”
“It would have reversed years of progress under presidents of both parties by making SNAP less effective in reducing food insecurity and supporting families,” Greensten said.
“It would have taken food assistance away from more than 1 million households including 2 million people and would have harmed children, people with serious health conditions, older workers, veterans, caregivers, and parents.
“Small changes — or political horse-trading — cannot fix this bill. We urge the House to craft a new bipartisan bill that reflects a shared commitment to strengthen SNAP and ensures that households that struggle to put food on the table get the help they need. Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Pat Roberts [R-Kan.] and ranking member Debbie Stabenow [D-Mich.] have stated that they plan to develop their farm bill, including its SNAP provisions, in a bipartisan manner. The House should do the same.”
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger thanked its members for lobbying against the bill, but added, “This story isn’t over. House leaders may make another attempt to consider the farm bill in the near future.”
“But for now, we should celebrate this victory and recognize our many efforts that contributed to this amazing result. We will have more work ahead, but we should draw strength from the impact that we have just made together.”
Food Policy Action Executive Director Monica Mills — “This bill was a non-starter from its beginnings. It was written behind closed doors with no bipartisan consultation or input. That is not the way to write a bill that affects every American and the food we eat at every meal every single day.”
“Today, we dodged a disastrous farm bill that would have been harmful for millions of Americans. It would have taken food out of the mouths of hungry children in order to pour billions of taxpayer dollars into the already brimming bank accounts of wealthy, big-ag farm operations.
“It would have taken critical funds away from farmers markets. It would have cut vital conservation programs. We need a farm bill that balances the needs of all Americans.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall — “We are already starting to hear from farmers across the nation, many of whom are perplexed and outraged at this morning’s vote. They are facing very real financial challenges.”
“We call on all members of Congress not to use farmers and ranchers as pawns in a political game. The risk management tools of the farm bill are too important, particularly at a time of depressed farm prices. We urge the House to pass H.R. 2 as soon as possible.”
American Soybean Association President John Heisdorffer — “Plain and simple: the farm bill matters. U.S. soybean growers and everyone involved in agriculture depend on this vital piece of legislation. This bill provides a farm safety net, improves conservation, places value on exports and feeds our nation.”
“Soybean growers are facing a down farm economy and significant export uncertainty, and are relying on a strong farm bill,” Heisdorffer said. “The House failure to pass a farm bill only adds to the uncertainty across rural America.”
National Corn Growers Association President Kevin Skunes — “Passing a farm bill through the House is the first, critical, step in getting a new bill.”
“NCGA urges House leaders to quickly find a way forward to pass a new farm bill as soon as possible. Depressed commodity prices, the increasing threat of a trade war, and disruptions in the ethanol market are creating uncertainty across rural America.
“Our farmers need clarity on the prospects of a new farm bill signed into law this year.”
National Association of Conservation Districts President Brent Van Dyke — “Today’s defeat brings us further away from passing a new farm bill on time and providing producers with the certainty they need to continue feeding and clothing this nation.”
“Farmers and ranchers across the country utilize farm bill conservation programs on their operations every day to preserve natural resources for future generations. With just over four months before the current farm bill expires, Congress must come together to protect America’s producers.”