Today, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield), a lifelong rancher who runs a pear orchard, took the next step in advocating for a farm bill by signing a discharge petition on the floor of the House of Representatives. The farm bill establishes policies and funds a number of programs including agriculture, conservation, forestry, and food assistance, including the discounted school breakfast and lunch programs for children from struggling families. Unless action is taken, authority for these programs will expire at the end of this month.
While the Senate passed a bipartisan farm bill in June, House Leadership has refused to bring their version up for a vote. If the discharge petition receives the signature of a majority of Representatives (218), the legislation will automatically be brought to the floor for a vote.
"We can and we must pass a bipartisan farm bill," said Congressman John Garamendi. "For months, I have lent my voice to a massive and growing chorus of farmers that have pleaded with House Leadership to bring this vital legislation to the floor, so we can have an honest debate. The time for obstruction is over. The time for action is now."
This week, advocates staged a rally at the United States Capitol urging swift passage of the bill.
Garamendi added, "As the largest agricultural state in the country, California's producers have a major stake in the outcome of the pending 2012 farm bill. The legislation provides policy guidance and funding for a multitude of programs that are essential to California's $39 billion agricultural economy. For instance, the farm bill help farmers bring California's many specialty crops to the market; empowers rice and other farmers to implement conservation measures that protect the sustainability of land, water, and wildlife; and invests in cutting-edge agricultural research and UC Davis and other universities."
The Congressman has also signed an upcoming bipartisan letter to the House Majority Leader, requesting a meeting on advancing the legislation.