Today the House of Representatives rejected final passage of the House Farm Bill by a 234-195 vote.
In an even more historic move, however, the full house voted 230 to 194 in favor of an amendment offered by Representative Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE) that would cap farm program payments so they support family farmers and ranchers, not passive investors and mega-farmers.
We thank Representative Fortenberry for leading the charge to close the gaping loopholes that have made a mockery of farm program payment limitations. His tireless advocacy for reducing the subsidies that mega-farms use to drive family farmers out of business is laudable.
The House Farm Bill failed in part because of huge cuts to the food stamp program. Also, the rules established for the debate didn't allow for consideration of needed reforms to federal crop insurance premium subsidies.
The House Rules Committee didn't allow amendments that would have reduced premium subsidies for those making over $750,000 in adjusted gross income. Nor did they allow a vote on an amendment that would have placed a cap on federal crop insurance premium subsidies to mega farmers.
Representative Fortenberry’s amendment was a good amendment, an historic silver lining, in a farm bill that otherwise did not adequately reflect rural America’s most important priorities. The failure of this farm bill vote sends a clear signal that the Farm Bill needs much greater reform to achieve passage.
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