Call for a full and fair Farm Bill after disappointing action in the House, July 11
In an alarming move by House leadership, they brought the Farm Bill back to the House floor for a vote last week — but this time without a Nutrition title. Despite pleas from the faith community, anti-hunger groups and even farm groups, the House passed a farm-only bill by removing food stamps and other nutrition assistance programs from the usual comprehensive Farm Bill.
The House Agriculture Committee chair Frank Lucas (R-OK) gave assurances that food stamps would be dealt with in separate legislation, but many faith-based and anti-poverty groups fear that this will lead to drastic deep cuts in food assistance to low-income families. It was not clear when the House would take up a separate bill on Nutrition programs.
Democrats lined up to oppose splitting the bill; they all voted against the bill, as did 12 Republican members of the House. The White House previously said it would veto the 608-page farm bill because it omitted food stamp spending and did not contain sufficient commodity and crop insurance reforms.
Call for a Full and Fair Farm Bill NOW
Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) has called for formal conference to begin immediately. The current farm bill, extended from last year, expires on September 30th of this year.
Groups from all parts of the country are joining together this week to demand that Congress develop and pass a full and fair Farm Bill this summer and without further delay. Faith-based and other groups in our network are encouraged to sign onto a letter by close of business on Wednesday, July 17.
The sign-on letter forthrightly states that a full and fair Farm Bill must include farm, food and nutrition, conservation and rural economic development programs and commodity and crop insurance reforms.
It must also provide renewed and enhanced funding for the now-stranded but critical subset of programs that assist the most chronically under-served segments of agriculture and our rural and urban communities.
The House and Senate should immediately appoint conferees to work in an open and urgent fashion toward adopting a final full and fair Farm Bill this summer.
Read more about next steps to Farm Bill Conference Committee at the blog spot of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.