As the U.S. House of Representatives voted today to on a split farm bill that only addresses agricultural interests and leaves out nutrition programs including food stamps, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, joined by Senators Tammy Baldwin, Mark Begich, Richard Blumenthal, Bob Casey, Dianne Feinstein, Angus King, Patrick Leahy, Robert Menendez, Chris Murphy, Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, Brian Schatz, Chuck Schumer, Tom Udall, Elizabeth Warren, and Ron Wyden urged Senate Leadership to keep the Farm Bill whole. House Republican's unprecedented legislative maneuver disrupts a decades long balance between urban and rural interests which has ensured American farmers have the protections they need to grow enough food to feed people across the world, while also ensuring that American families have the resources they need to meet their basic food needs. The Senator called on Leadership to oppose any effort to split that legislation that would undermine Americans farmers and hungry families.
"Just as important as the health of our agriculture industry, is the health and nutrition of our children, seniors and military families who are struggling for their next meal," said Senator Gillibrand. "This unacceptable and unprecedented plan by House Republicans to split this bill into two parts jeopardizes the rural-urban connection in the farm bill and puts critical food assistance for our children, seniors and military families at risk of even more draconian cuts in the House. Hungry children deserve better than this complete dysfunction from the House turning a long standing and bipartisan coalition upside down."
The text of the Senator's letter is below:
Dear Senator Reid,
We wish to express our deep concern with the recent development in the House of Representatives to split the Farm Bill into two separate bills -- one for nutrition programs and one for all the other farm programs. We urge you to oppose any efforts to split the Farm Bill.
The House's unprecedented legislative maneuver disrupts a decades-long balance between urban and rural interests. This balance has long ensured that American farmers have the protections they need to grow enough food to feed hundreds of millions of people around the world, while also ensuring that American families have the resources they need to meet their basic food needs.
We believe that splitting the Farm Bill, while appearing to be politically expedient in the short-term, will undermine future efforts to pass robust agricultural policy that also protects the food safety net for millions of Americans.
Reauthorizing the Farm Bill is clearly a top priority in the Senate, as demonstrated by the Senate's successful passage of a bipartisan Farm Bill only a few weeks ago. The Senate Farm Bill was a negotiated bill that balanced a variety of interests and passed by wide margin (66 to 27). As we move forward, please ensure that the will of the Senate for a comprehensive Farm Bill is sustained.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue, and we look forward to working with you to ensure America's farmers and hungry families are supported through a comprehensive Farm Bill.