Like most politicians, Rep. Reed releases information that puts himself in the most favorable light possible. Notice the opening statement that was in his July 12 newsletter:
“Congress was back in Session this week with a lot on its plate. The House yesterday passed a five-year Farm Bill with strong support from local farmers.”
The ‘strong support’ link leads to his Press Release, “Reed Votes To Pass Farm Bill; Democrats Fail To Support Nation’s Farmers”. Remember that the main news of the Farm Bill was that the Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps) section was dropped from the bill.
The following is what Reed touts as “strong support” for the House Farm Bill which was recently passed:
Charlene Ryder of the New York Wine Grape Growers said, “A farm bill is extremely important to New York’s grape industry, both wine and juice grape growers. This is especially important because of the research components which are currently halted because of the lack of a long-term farm bill. Also, an effective crop insurance program will be beneficial to future planning for farmers.”
Cattleman Jake Martin of Gorham said: “I feel this is a key vote today and I am hopeful that we can put a majority together to support area farmers; because of the large losses last year from the drought we do need the support of these programs to keep us going. This bill can provide a stepping stone to provide support for farmers still suffering from previous crop years and give them a more stable outlook for future crop years.”
“In a perfect world we would get this all done at once and have it behind us,” said Dennis Rak, Owner of Double A Vineyards in Fredonia. “For the agriculture community it is important that we get a farm bill done so we can make plans for the future.”
I underlined phrases in all three quotes to point out that the farmers were ‘strongly supporting’ getting a farm bill passed. None indicated that they supported removing the Nutrition (SNAP/Food Stamps) from the rest of the bill.
An article that was in July 15’s issue of Canandaigua’s MPN news tells the other side of the story. The article leads with: “Despite urging from the New York State Farm Bureau to keep the food stamp program in the farm bill, House leaders approved Thursday removing the food aid program that has been part of farm bills since the 1970s.”
They interviewed Farm Bureau President and Genesee County dairy farmer, Dean Norton. He said,
“Passage of a Farm Bill in the House today should have been a moment for great celebration. But instead, New York’s farmers are left with continued uncertainty about how this bill will become law before the current version expires in September. While many of the provisions in this House Farm bill are good for New York and we fought hard for their inclusion, we opposed splitting the agriculture and nutrition portions into separate bills that break apart the urban-rural collaboration that has been critical for decades in advancing farm and food policy in this country.
“We appreciate the diligent work of the many members of our delegation, including our Agriculture Committee members, for their hard work on the Farm Bill, but we could not support a process that has unknown long-term ramifications,” Norton continued. “New York Farm Bureau will continue to work with the entire Congressional delegation for successful completion of a Farm Bill that serves the needs of farmers, our communities and our neighbors in need.”
The House voted down the Farm Bill in June. To appease the radical right of the Republican House members put up the exact same bill, minus the Nutrition portion, and that barely passed. Separating Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps) from the rest of the bill is going to delay it from becoming a law. The Senate passed a Farm Bill that included the Nutrition legislation. The two bills will to go to a formal farm bill conference with the Senate. The Senate leaders have said it will not consider that conference until the House approves a Nutrition Bill.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has formed a work-group to develop the new Nutrition Bill. It has 21 House Republicans, no Democrats. House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) has said that it will take a week or two to draft the bill. “I would like to have something before we go home for August. I don’t know if that is humanly possible, but I am trying,” Lucas said. “Through the course of two votes and two debates, there has been some solidifying of positions, so I have less flexibility than I had before.”
The Senate’s version of the bill removed $3.9 billion from the Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps). The House had wanted to reduced Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps) by $20.5 billion, but that was defeated. How much MORE will the House want to take from Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps) before they’ll approve the bill? What will the Senate agree to?
The farmers who ‘Strongly Supported” the Farm Bill are very anxious to have it become law. Will reducing funds for Nutrition (SNAP/Feed Stamps) make passing the Farm Bill impossible? Remember that the present Farm Bill expires on September 30, and congress takes their August Break from August 3 to September 5. Get ready for another deadline cliff hanger.
- Seeds of discontent over House farm bill (billingsgazette.com)
- House Passes Farm Only Farm Bill (hoosieragtoday.com)
- House version of farm bill protects crop insurance (cjonline.com)
- A Weak Farm Bill Debate Pitting Agriculture Subsidies Against Food Stamps (usnews.com)