Hare Supports Farm Bill, Urges President to Sign It
Congressman Phil Hare (D-IL) today voted for the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 conference report which would maintain a strong safety net for Illinois farmers while making historic investments in renewable energy, nutrition and conservation. The bill passed by a strong bipartisan vote of 318-106.
"From top to bottom, this is a great bill for Illinois," Hare said. "It will allow our farmers to manage production risks in the event of unsustainably low prices or natural disasters, ensure a safe and abundant food supply, reduce fuel prices, and foster economic development in rural communities."
Nearly three-quarters of all spending in the Farm Bill will go toward food and nutrition programs. It provides $5.4 billion to extend food stamps to low income families, including an increase in the minimum benefit. It also designates $1.25 billion in vital assistance to food banks
"Many of my constituents are struggling with rising food prices," Hare said. "This bill makes a strong commitment to reducing hunger and helping working families and senior citizens make ends meet."
The Farm Bill boosts funding for renewable energy programs by $1.1 billion, including a new $1.00 a gallon tax credit for cellulosic ethanol. "This significant increase will reduce our dependence on foreign oil, lower gas prices, address global climate change, and help boost Illinois' agriculture economy," Hare said.
The Farm Bill makes historic investments in conservation to protect the environment, improve air quality, build wildlife habitat and help farmers increase their environmental stewardship. The bill also renews successful programs that provide vital healthcare, emergency communications, broadband telecommunications services, and economic development to rural communities.
President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, claiming it is too expensive. "The President has no problem spending $10 billion a month in Iraq, but when it comes to our farmers he is suddenly a penny pincher," Hare said. "I urge him to sign this bipartisan bill. If not, I believe we have the votes necessary to override his veto."
The Illinois Farm Bureau, Corn Growers, Soybean Producers, Dairy Farmers, Farmers Union, and Beef Producers all support the legislation.