Today, Congressman Sires voted against H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act, a 608 page bill that was hastily brought before Congress for a vote less than 24 hours after its introduction. For more than 40 years, legislation to reauthorize farm, conservation, and nutrition programs has been passed in a unified bill with overwhelming bipartisan support. However, for the first time, H.R. 2642 would strip the farm bill of the nutrition title, creating even greater uncertainty in the lives of millions of America's most vulnerable citizens.
A previous version of the FARRM Act recently failed to pass in the House of Representatives, due in part to the devastating cuts it made to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as the food stamp program.) H.R. 2642 passed in the House by a vote of 216 to 208.
"This new version of the FARRM Act sets a truly irresponsible precedent, leaving no clear path forward for reauthorizing critical food aid programs. It is unconscionable to me that Congress would turn its back on millions of Americans, most of whom are working families and seniors that rely on these programs," said Congressman Sires.
The nutrition title in the farm bill provides funding for food assistance programs including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Emergency Food Assistance Program, and the Commodity Supplemental Program. These programs ensure that American families and seniors have access to the food they need, that our food banks are stocked, and that our children have access to a nutritious breakfast and lunch at school.
"We owe it to our families, to our parents and children, and to our friends and neighbors across the nation to find a bipartisan path forward, not only for these vital nutrition programs but for the entire farm bill. At a time when so many Americans are struggling to make ends meet, it is more important than ever that we bring forward smart legislation that continues to fuel our recovery, while at the same time supporting those who most desperately need our help," stated Congressman Sires.