U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today issued the following statement regarding House leadership's refusal to move forward with a comprehensive, five-year Farm Bill - as many Michigan farmers are still recovering after this spring's damaging deep freezes and the worst national drought in more than 50 years continues destroying millions of acres of cropland and threatening the agriculture economy. The full Senate passed its Farm Bill in June and the House Agriculture Committee passed its version last month with strong bipartisan support. The legislation includes critical disaster assistance provisions that go above and beyond the limited assistance the House leadership is proposing, and strengthens crop insurance to help ensure farmers are protected from future disasters. Farmers and farm groups agree that a full 5-year farm bill is far better than a limited disaster bill.
The new Farm Bill provides farmers the certainty they need to plan for the upcoming season and strengthens initiatives that help farmers and small businesses continue to grow America's agriculture economy. It is also the only bipartisan bill to cut spending that passed the Senate this year, reducing the deficit $23 billion by ending direct payment subsidies, streamlining programs and confronting program abuse.
"It's deeply troubling that the House would leave farmers and small businesses in the lurch at a time when our agriculture economy is vulnerable and facing incredible uncertainty. A five-year Farm Bill not only provides the immediate relief producers need to battle drought and disaster, it also gives farmers the long-term certainty and additional tools they need to keep growing and creating jobs over the long-term.
"By refusing to bring up the Farm Bill, House leadership is doing what Congress always does - kicking the can down the road instead of coming together to solve problems. If Congress does not pass a Farm Bill, there will be no reform, direct payments will continue, we'll lose the opportunity for major deficit reduction and we'll deliver a real blow to our economic recovery."