Thursday, July 11, 2013

READ: Rep. Barber Explains His (& Dems') Vote Against FARRM Bill; This Version Creates "Further Uncertainty For Arizona Farmers"

As noted previously, all Democrats - including Arizona's five Democratic Representatives - voted against the scaled-back FARRM Bill which narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives this afternoon, 216-208.

Arizona Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) explained his opposition in a statement this afternoon:

“Americans deserve comprehensive and consistent agriculture and nutrition policies.” Barber said “The bill I voted against today fails to authorize nutrition programs that benefit millions of families and ends long-standing protections for farmers and consumers at the supermarket.”
 The Farm Bill passed the House by a vote of 216-208. It is not expected to be considered by the Senate. Barber voted in June to pass a bipartisan, comprehensive Farm Bill that would have extended national agricultural and nutrition programs for the next five years. That compromise bill failed to pass the House. “When I voted to support a comprehensive Farm Bill, I called on leadership in Congress to work together and bring a bipartisan Farm Bill to the floor that can pass the House and Senate and be signed into law for the betterment of the American people and southern Arizona,” Barber said today. “This bill went in the opposite direction creating further uncertainty for Arizona and American farmers.” Today’s bill was opposed by farmers across the country, including the Arizona Farm Bureau, which has called for a comprehensive bill. The Arizona and American Farm Bureaus thanked Barber for his vote in support of certainty for agriculture in the country. Kevin Rogers, president of the Arizona Farm Bureau and a fourth-generation Arizona farmer, said: “American farmers and families need the certainty that comes with comprehensive agricultural policy. The Arizona Farm Bureau appreciates the support of Congressman Barber and his vote today in opposing the splitting of the nation’s Farm Bill.” Because today’s bill stripped out the nutritional programs from the Farm Bill, it failed to address the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In Arizona, more than 1.1 million people – 1 of every 6 – receive aid through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. More than 75 percent of those recipients are in families with children and nearly half are in working families.
This article on Politico explains the larger, political picture well.

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