Mark Udall, a strong supporter of a comprehensive and deficit-reducing 2013 Farm Bill, the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union questioned moves today by the U.S. House of Representatives to break apart the legislation and not give the full, bipartisan bill an up-or-down vote.
"The Senate's 2013 Farm Bill was forged as a bipartisan compromise aimed at reducing the federal budget deficit, helping hardworking Colorado families, and strengthening the hand of American's farmers and ranchers," Udall said. "The U.S. House of Representatives' inability to take up this comprehensive and common-sense compromise for the second year in a row defies logic and only reinforces the frustration of Coloradans about how out of touch these partisan games are with the needs of rural communities. I strongly urge Colorado's House delegation to press their leaders to allow an up-or-down vote on the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill."
"Instead of encouraging a compromise, splitting the Farm Bill's titles would drive a wedge, political and social, between the conflicting parties," said Chad Vorthman, executive vice president of the Colorado Farm Bureau. "This wedge threatens both pieces of legislation and also threatens agricultural producers and America's poor."
"Rocky Mountain Farmers Union is asking Congress to put partisan politics aside and provide certainty for the economy in rural America," said Kent Peppler, president of the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. "Splitting the nutrition title from the farm bill will put both nutrition for the food insecure and the American Farmer at risk."
The Senate Farm Bill includes the following provisions, which Udall fought for over the past two years:
Doubling the U.S. Forest Service's annual budget to $200 million for the next five years to reduce wildfire risks and address the ongoing beetle epidemic in Western forests;
Giving ranchers the same permanent safety net farmers receive to confront losses due to drought; and,
Permanently reauthorizing the U.S. Forest Service's stewardship contracting authority, which allows the agency to partner with private organizations to improve forest health and reduce wildfire risks.