Gillibrand protests food stamp cuts with "no" vote on Farm Bill
The Senate passed the 5-year, $500 billion Farm Bill this afternoon, 68-32. The package that sets farm and nutrition policy for the country now goes on to the White House for President Obama's signature. He's expected to sign it.
Senator Chuck Schumer voted 'yes', but Senator Kirsten Gillibrand voted against it, blaming the $8.7 billion inc uts to the foop stamp program, known as SNAP. She tweeted this afternoon: "I could not support the #FarmBill today. $8.7b in #SNAP cuts takes food off the tables of our struggling seniors, veterans & children."
The New York Farm Bureau's president Dean Norton called today "a momentous day for New York's farmers", in a press release:
The reforms passed in this Farm Bill will provide a critical safety net that truly takes the diversity of New York agriculture into account like never before. The changes to crop insurance should be seen as an investment in maintaining a reliable food supply in this country when disasters strike, while also savings billions of taxpayer dollars.
The Farm Bill is also important to rural economic development. It provides funding to improve the state’s infrastructure to help increase marketing opportunities for farmers while at the same time opening up access to local food for people of all income levels. The Farm Bill also enhances conservation efforts and research programs that will improve how we farm and better protect the environment.
Many conservation groups also cheered the legislation's passage through Congress, more than two years after it was initially introduced. The bill ties crop insurance subsidies to farmers' participation in programs to conserve wetlands, grasslands, and forests on their lands. "This bill includes proactive and common sense conservation programs that will help deter wetland and other habitat loss, incentivize habitat conservation and keep working farmers and ranchers on their land,” said CEO Dale Hall, in a press release.
If you want to case against the Farm Bill – and why so many people are grumbling about it – look no further than my post here, and this great Washington Post explainer here.
Tags: dairy, farm bill, farming, rural life, usda, washington