Broad Federal Farm Bill With Implications Across US Food Spectrum Debated In Washington

Farm Bill Passes the Senate, 66-27

on June 10 | in In Focus, The Top Spot | by | with Comments Off

More of the same in today’s Senate vote on the Farm Bill.  Is it a step in the right direction?  Two views from a senior Senator and former chair of the Agriculture Committee, Saxby Chambliss and a freshman Senator with a future, Ted Cruz.

In a statement from Senator Saxby Chambliss:

Today, U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R- Ga., former chairman and ranking member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, voted for final passage of S. S. 954, the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act of 2013. The bill passed 66-27.

“I am pleased to support this year’s farm bill, which strikes a balance that last year’s Senate version did not,” said Chambliss. “As a former chairman and ranking member of the Agriculture Committee, I recognize how difficult it is to combine diverse interests into a single piece of legislation that meets the needs of all crops, regions, rural and urban communities.  I want to thank Chairwoman Stabenow and Ranking Member Cochran for the work they have done to craft a reform-minded bill, that not only saves $24 billion with sequestration cuts included, but also provides an effective safety net for farmers and ranchers to rely on in times of need. I am confident this bill adequately addresses the various needs and interests between commodities and regions. I urge the House to pass their bill in a timely manner, so we may go to conference before the current extension expires in September. Farmers deserve certainty, so they may plan for the future and focus on doing what they do best: producing the highest quality agricultural products in the world.”

An opposing view from U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) expressing his disappointment with S. 954, the Farm Bill:

Agriculture forms the backbone of the Texas economy and is an integral part of our proud heritage, as it is for the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, the current farm bill gives far less attention to the needs of farmers than it does to politicians and special interests. For an issue as critical to our nation’s safety and American livelihoods as ensuring a reliable food supply, I am disappointed that Washington’s cynical politics have again trumped any real reform.

Any meaningful support for farmers in this trillion dollar bill is unnecessarily held hostage to the unchecked growth of food stamp entitlements and numerous other programs unrelated to farming. This farm bill costs 60 percent more than the 2008 bill. Nearly 80 percent of it is comprised of food stamps. It fails to provide a true safety net for difficult years, fails to fully target assistance to those most in need, and fails to prioritize farm aid over duplicative programs, subsidizing unrelated programs from green energy to housing.

We should address the true needs of American farmers, but the bill considered by the Senate does much more harm than good. I hope our House colleagues will include needed reforms that the Senate omitted in its flawed consideration of this important issue.

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Sen. Chambliss is right there are many opposing forces in the bill, but did he fight hard enough to return the Farm Bill to its purpose.  It should not be 80% other and 20% farm, which is what the Senate bill is.  Sen. Cruz is trying to return this bill to it’s purpose.  He lost today, but in the near future the house will begin it’s deliberations. ZPolitics posted what Speaker Boehner had to say about the Farm Bill today.

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