House Republicans Continue to Advance Dangerous, Partisan Farm Bill

With the Senate due to release its version of the Farm Bill, House Republicans are teeing up another vote on the same partisan package Democrats defeated last month. That bill would take away food assistance from as many as two million hungry Americans, while putting billionaires over family farmers. While Republicans continue to hijack the Farm Bill to hurt working families, Democrats will continue to work toward a bipartisan proposal that makes needed investments in our rural communities.


The House Republican Farm Bill takes food off the tables of hungry families while expanding subsidies for billionaires.


CNN: “Since 2002, Congress has added in multiple means-testing for federal farm subsidies to prevent them from going to the hands of wealthy farm-owners. But tucked away in Sec. 1603 of new bill, is an exemption for ‘pass-through’ businesses from the means testing requirements. In practice, this would mean that with a simple accounting trick, billionaire farm owners would once again be eligible for lucrative farm subsidies.”


CNN: “The language has generated opposition both from fiscal conservatives who say the payments amount to welfare for wealthy people and critics who note that the same bill proposes new work requirements for participants in the federal food stamp program, SNAP. Up to 2 million SNAP recipients could lose or have their benefits slashed under the proposed rule changes, according to the left-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.”


Some wealthy members of Congress are among those who would continue to get aid under the House Republican Farm Bill — even as working families suffer.


Los Angeles Times: “While lawmakers do not appear to be among those who have been getting payments for 32 years straight, several have collected handsome amounts of subsidies thanks to the farm bill — some while serving in Congress, the report found. Among them is Rep. Vicky Hartzler, a Missouri Republican who champions the tougher food stamp rules, vowing that they would move impoverished Americans into self-sufficiency. Hartzler, according to the Environmental Working Group, is also the recipient of nearly $1 million in farm subsidies.”


The House Republican Farm Bill doesn’t do enough for family farmers, who are struggling with low crop prices and higher interest rates.


Washington Post: “Interest rates are much lower now than they were in the 1980s, but the Fed’s plans to raise rates come as there has been a rapid decline in crop prices. A bushel of corn sold for more than $8 in summer 2012. Now it sells for less than $4. Soybeans and dairy have similarly tumbled.”


The House Republican Farm Bill ignores the rural poverty “emergency” many families are facing by cutting rural development funding.


NPR: “According to estimates by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, nearly a quarter of children growing up in rural America were poor in 2016, compared to slightly more than 20 percent in urban areas.”


More than a quarter of a million schoolchildren stand to lose their free school lunches under the House Republican Farm Bill.


Bloomberg: “The Congressional Budget Office estimates the farm bill (H.R. 2) language designed to tighten eligibility for the program formerly known as food stamps—now the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program—would also deny access to free school meals to 265,000 children from families not otherwise eligible.”