US House Turned Its Back on Rural America- Terry Detrick of AFRFri, 21 Jun 2013 05:28:16 CDT
Following the failure of the U.S. House of Representatives to pass the 2013 Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act on June 20, AFR/OFU President Terry Detrick issued the follow statement:
"What a difference a day makes! At 10 p.m. last night, debate on the 2013 Farm Bill seemed to be moving smoothly toward certain approval. Today, my heart goes out to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Ranking Member Collin Peterson (D-Minn.). For the past four years, they have worked in a bipartisan way, building a farm bill, which should have been considered last summer.
"The bill was finally considered today with $10 billion less in funding than authors had to work with last summer. Today's bill would have accomplished $40 billion in deficit reduction and would have eliminated direct payments to farmers. (The latter is against AFR/OFU policy, but it was the best we could get.) This year's bill also included the first reforms to SNAP since 1996, primarily working toward eliminating abuse loop-holes in the nutrition/welfare programs.
"Lucas and Peterson led the House Ag Committee with a show of bipartisanship, working together in a fashion unknown in Washington, D.C., today. Unfortunately, their efforts failed.
"The House of Representatives turned their backs on rural America today. National farm policy, which has historically provided the cheapest, safest, most plentiful and most available food supply in the world was disregarded over partisan politics not just between Republicans and Democrats, but three ways including the split Republican majority.
"Peterson stated he had 40 Democrat votes for the bill until Republican leadership tried one last ditch effort to make SNAP benefits more difficult to obtain and another to remove a supply-management provision from the new dairy margin insurance program. Those changes cost 16 Democrat votes. Likewise, Lucas found his far right-wing members refusing to support their own committee chair who apparently worked too hard to achieve bipartisanship.
"We are proud of the Oklahoma delegation members that supported their chairman on this bill. We are disappointed Congressman Bridenstein (R-Tulsa) chose to vote NO.
"American Farmers & Ranchers refuses to become a politically-partisan organization. Whether state or federal, any legislator on the side of our membership is considered a friend. I ask that our members remember our friends."
WebReadyTM Powered by WireReady® NSI
Top Agricultural News