The Farm Bill is a huge, complex piece of legislation (as our Farm Bill 101 makes clear), and its path through Congress will be filled with twists and turns. We’re closely following this journey, looking at how the proposed bills in the House and Senate will impact farmers, eaters, and residents of rural communities. Over the coming months, Farm Aid will keep this post updated with the latest news on the Farm Bill and opportunities to speak up to improve it.
The House Farm Bill Vote Fails
The House failed to pass a vote on their awful version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 2) on May 18. The vote was 213 to 198, with 30 Republicans joining 183 Democrats to defeat the bill. Some of the Republicans voting against the bill may have done so simply to force a vote on an immigration bill they want to see taken up by the House. The Washington Post said of the political move, “The farm bill itself became practically a sideshow, despite its importance to agriculture and the significant changes it would institute to food stamp programs.”
In the lead-up to the vote, hundreds of people took action through our Action Center to contact their Representatives to help stop H.R. 2. It’s expected to come up for another vote on June 22, so there is still time to stop this blatant handout to corporate agriculture. Farm Aid joins dozens of farm and food organizations to oppose this bill because it:
- Fails farmers and ranchers by leaving them without a true safety net and instead delivers huge payouts to mega-farms through new or expanded loopholes in commodity, credit and insurance programs.
- Harms rural economies by cutting funding for rural development programs that are critical to rural America. It also eliminates or severely cuts programs that safeguard our natural resources, and subsidizes factory farms that pollute rural communities.
- Rolls back the progress made in previous Farm Bills by cutting or eliminating programs that support local and regional food systems; promote innovative farming and marketing systems; and support beginning farmers and ranchers, farmers of color and veteran farmers.
- Hurts hungry Americans by cutting nutrition assistance programs, removing an anticipated 2 million individuals from support programs over the next 10 years.