Final Farm Bill Rejects GOP Attempts to Dismantle Nutrition Programs
December 12, 2018
Thanks to Senator Debbie Stabenow’s (D-MI) and Rep. Collin Peterson’s (MN-07) leadership, lawmakers passed a final Farm Bill that invests in rural communities, provides needed certainty to farmers and producers, creates new opportunities for beginning and underserved farmers, and gives struggling families access to healthy foods. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate worked across the aisle to negotiate a final bill that includes critical support for farmers, rural communities, and working families and rejects conservative proposals like cutting access to food stamps after Republicans held up the bill for months to make these poison-pill demands.
The final Farm Bill protects food stamps, rejecting Republican efforts to cut access to nutrition assistance.
Politico: “The deal is a win for Democrats, who unanimously opposed the House plan to impose stricter work requirements on millions of participants in SNAP, formerly known as food stamps. SNAP helps nearly 40 million low-income Americans buy groceries and accounts for more than 75 percent of the farm bill’s total price tag.”
CNBC: “The massive bill left out the controversial stricter work requirements sought by House Republicans for people getting food stamps, or participants in the government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. Democrats opposed adding the tougher work requirements that would have cut or reduced benefits for more than 2 million people.”
The final Farm Bill permanently funds programs to support beginning, socially disadvantaged, and veteran farmers, and help these farmers access new markets.
Washington Post: “For instance, the farm bill permanently secures funding for a program that funds and promotes local farmers markets, as well as a program to research challenges facing organic farmers. It also permanently allots money for organizations that work to train the next generation of farmers at a time when experts have raised concerns about the aging of the industry.”
CNBC: “The bill also offers improved crop insurance access for veteran farmers and beginning farmers and offers cost-share assistance to help farmers transition into organics. It also quadruples investment for organic research.”
The final Farm Bill invests in renewable energy and conservation.
CNBC: “The farm bill also provides $500 million to promote rural small businesses and farmers use of renewable energy and to create energy installation jobs. There’s also more funding to expand high-speed Internet to rural communities.”
Politico: “Lawmakers left out dozens of controversial environmental provisions proposed by House Republicans, such as language to ease restrictions on pesticides and certain requirements under the Endangered Species Act.”
The final bill excludes an amendment by Steve King that would have blocked states from setting their own standards for food safety and agricultural production.
Bangor Daily News: “That meant if any one state allowed the production or manufacture of a particular agricultural product, under the King amendment the other 49 must do so as well, regardless if existing state or local laws prohibited it.”
Los Angeles Times Editorial Board: “It’s bad enough that his proposal would prevent states from insuring the humane treatment of hens and other farm animals. But because there is a vast realm of items that could be considered ‘agricultural products’ covered by this ridiculously broad provision, it might also nullify hundreds of state laws regulating food safety, the environment, public health and labor standards.”