Farm Bill On Life Support; House Extremists Spurn Family Farmers

There are only about a half-dozen days left on the legislative calendar before the current Farm Bill expires on Sept. 30. Talks are at an impasse.

Chances are you haven’t heard much, if anything, about the bill’s current state of play. That’s because the mainstream media isn’t covering the Farm Bill’s progress the way it has in the past. It’s not the media’s fault. Their ranks are declining, and there just aren’t as many beat reporters in Washington as there were 10 years ago. As important as it is, the Farm Bill just can’t compete with the click bait of Trump’s outlandish Tweet of the moment; a potentially deadly hurricane; or the horse race intensity of the midterm elections. For example, about 350 Family Farmers from around the country descended on the Capitol this week to lobby for the Farm Bill, but good luck finding a mention of them anywhere in the news media.

House Republicans bent on burning a hole in the American Safety Net refuse to budge in talks aimed at hammering out a compromise Farm Bill, even if that means hurting a core part of their base voters: Working Farmers. Fortunately, the sane bipartisan Senate negotiators will have none of it, so the more they dig their heals in, the more likely it is that Congress will have to pass a continuing resolution to extend the Farm Bill budget currently on the books. That is a much better outcome than passing the misery-fueled House GOP version, for sure.

We’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating:

“Just like the $1.5 trillion tax cut that primarily helps corporations and billionaires, the GOP House Farm Bill is a gift to “Big Ag,” favoring industrial farming over Family Farmers and the Locally Grown Movement. The best chance we have for a fair Farm Bill remains in the Senate, where reaching the 60 votes needed for passage won’t allow for the draconian legislation that House Republicans have crafted.”

If the far right lawmakers really wanted to be deficit hawks, they never would have passed the tax cuts that forgot the middle class and Rural Americans, in particular. Now those same lawmakers spread a Gospel of Hate that threatens the health of children, senior citizens, veterans, active military, the disabled, and working — working — poor.

“The House version of the Farm Bill is a devastating move away from what was at least talk about changing market strategies as the Farm-to-Fork industry made strides,” said Rural Votes Executive Director Deb Kozikowski. “The idea of Americans eating healthier thanks to reliable sharing of information on good nutrition was taking hold. Calorie counts on menus didn’t just happen, nor did identifying the country of origin on food packaging.”

Kozikowski added, “Now we see an agenda coming out of the extremist wing of Congress poisoning the Farm Bill. Starting with a backslide on pollutants and other known health related hazard practices, who knows where we’ll end up.”

Be Sociable, Share!

Leave a Reply