Last month, the Farm Bill was defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives by a series of "poison pill' amendments that would weaken nutrition assistance for our nation's poor. Today, a new and controversial version of the Farm Bill, H.R. 2642, Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act, was reintroduced for a vote, completely dropping the historically included nutrition benefits. In protest, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) and his colleagues in the Democratic Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, and Congressional Hispanic Caucus rose in opposition to the legislation that would damage nutrition assistance to our nation's poorest children and endanger support for our nation's agriculture industry.
"Splitting the Farm Bill is a disastrous mistake, and I will not abide by it. Plainly stated, rejecting the historic marriage of Farm and nutrition programs could prove devastating for both down the road. More important, by politically isolating our vital nutrition programs, the House leadership is literally taking food out of the mouths of hungry families and upsetting the precious balance of priorities for farmers and ranchers in my District and across the whole United States," said Congressman Bishop. "Congress has an obligation to support and protect Americans of all walks of life, and so I cannot, and will not, vote for a bill that would turn its back on our nation's hungry, destitute, and malnourished."
For more than forty years, a comprehensive and bipartisan approach on the Farm Bill has brought members from all across America, both urban and rural areas, together on American food policy. A strong Farm Bill provides certainty for America's farmers, ranchers, and consumers with the safest, most abundant and most affordable food and fiber supply in the world, while addressing hunger across the nation.
Splitting the Farm Bill is opposed by hundreds of farm groups, including the American Farm Bureau, Georgia Farm Bureau, National Farmers Union, Dairy Farmers of America, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Farmers Union, as well as the Southwest Georgia Farm Credit, Georgia Agribusiness Council, Georgia Forestry Association, Georgia Pork Producers Association, and AgGeorgia. The new bill is also opposed by AARP, the U.S. Conference of Catholics Bishops, Club for Growth, Freedomworks, Heritage Action, and has been threatened to be vetoed by the White House.
When brought to a vote, H.R. 2642 passed in a partisan vote of 216 to 208. Congressman Bishop opposed the bill.