Hagel Opposes Farm Bill Passed by Senate
U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel (R-NE) today voted against the Farm Bill Conference Report which passed the Senate by a vote of 81-15. The bill will now be sent to President Bush for his consideration. The following is a statement from Senator Hagel regarding his vote:
"Congress once again, as with the 2002 Farm Bill, squandered an opportunity to produce responsible legislation that would have instituted real reform in our agriculture policy. We must reconnect our policy to its original purpose: providing a true safety net to real farmers when they need it most, while limiting government involvement in producers' decisions.
"One of the biggest problems with this farm bill is that it still does not close the loopholes that allow big land owners and agribusinesses to abuse the farm payment program. Fewer than half of America's farms benefit from our current farm policy and nearly 66 percent of farm payments go to only 10 percent of producers. It is unwise and wrong to continue these policies. The real farmers and tax payers lose. The big guys win.
"This bill continues a payment system that encourages producers to make their business decisions not on market conditions, but on what subsidies they are eligible for. It will continue to distort land valuations and inflate food prices, while jeopardizing our trade agreements. We need a farm bill that significantly reforms our current policy. Agriculture is far too important to Nebraska and America for it to continue on such a misguided path.
"I will support President Bush's veto of this legislation."