Senate Rejects Dorgan-Grassley Farm Payment Limits Reform

Release Date: 

12/13/2007

Contact(s): 

Chuck Hassebrook, chuckh@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1018
Or John Crabtree, johnc@cfra.org, (402) 687-2103 ext. 1010
Lyons, NE – The United States Senate voted down the Dorgan-Grassley farm program payment limitations amendment by a vote of 56 in favor to 43 opposed.

“Senator Kent Conrad engineered the defeat of this amendment. More than anyone else, he is responsible for continuing the policy of destroying family farming and undermining rural communities by subsidizing mega farms to drive smaller operations out of business,” said Chuck Hassebrook, Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs.

The amendment, sponsored by Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND) and Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) would have closed loopholes, placed a hard cap of $250,000 on payments and invested the savings in small business development, beginning farmers and other initiatives to create future in rural America.

“Conrad has proven that southerners are not the primary obstacle to a farm policy that strengthens America’s rural communities. The responsibility for killing reform lies with a small handful of Midwest and Great Plains Senators who sided with selfish interests over the good of the overwhelming majority of farmers and rural people. Conrad is their leader,” continued Hassebrook.

According to Hassebrook, the most disappointing aspect of Senator Conrad’s actions was the manner in which they undermined the efforts of his fellow North Dakota Senator, Byron Dorgan (D-ND).

“Senator Byron Dorgan proved himself a true statesman and a genuine fighter for rural North Dakotans. Even in defeat, every North Dakotan should be proud of his leadership on their behalf and on behalf of all rural Americans,” said Hassebrook.

The amendment failed despite garnering the support of 56 Senators, a clear, bipartisan majority in the current Senate. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had announced earlier that the Dorgan-Grassley amendment would require 60 votes for passage.

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