Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after the U.S. House of Representatives blocked passage of the Farm Bill, leaving Montana farmers and ranchers without the security of a long-term safety net:
"The House of Representative's vote today was irresponsible. Two years in a row, the Senate has passed a bipartisan, five-year plan that saves taxpayer dollars and preserves a strong safety net, and it's high time for the House to get on board and support Montana's number one industry."
Earlier this month, the Senate reauthorized the Farm Bill for five years, saving taxpayers $24 billion. The bill replaces direct payments to farmers with a new initiative that protects them from sudden losses and provides them with new crop insurance options. It also streamlines conservation initiatives to help farmers preserve clean air and water and ensure public land access for sportsmen and women, and it reauthorizes livestock disaster initiatives.
The Senate passed a similar bipartisan Farm Bill last year, but the House of Representatives refused to vote on the bill. As a result, the current Farm Bill was extended for another year. Without action by Congress, it will expire in September.