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Press Release

Key Vote "No" 2008 Farm Bill

On behalf of hundreds of thousands of FreedomWorks members nationwide, I urge you to VOTE “NO” on the 2008 Farm Bill.

Despite record high prices for crops, the U.S. Congress is moving forward with a massive new farm bill that boosts subsidies while expanding government control over agriculture. The bill in Congress includes huge cash transfers from taxpayers to farmers at a time when food prices for the average family have increased by up to 5.0 percent for the year—on top of last year’s increase of 4.0 percent, which was the greatest price hike since 1990.

The new farm bill would also continue some of the more inefficient practices of the past that benefit only a small group of producers with high-priced lobbyists at the expense of less politically connected consumers.  For example, American sugar producers enjoy guaranteed price supports and restrictions on competition that leave Americans paying almost twice the world price for sugar.  Even worse, any excess supply is automatically purchased by the federal government to ensure prices do not fall.

Judging from the frantic scramble to pass a bloated farm-bill laden with subsidies to millionaires, higher prices for consumers, and $20 billion in new spending, it seems that Congress has done little to curb its appetite for spending.  Ignoring its own pay-go rules requiring new spending to be offset with budget cuts or new taxes, Congress has resorted to accounting charades to cover the costs of the program. The bill also includes a few more ridiculous earmarks for Nancy Pelosi’s friends in the salmon industry, a request by Senator Leahy for a ski resort in Vermont and money for an environmentalist group called the Nature Conservancy.

Just as troubling, Congress has also passed laws demanding the use of bio-fuels that are taking croplands out of food production and into energy production.  Thanks to tax credits and mandates requiring the use of bio-fuels, Americans are facing higher prices in the grocery store as food crops are turned into ethanol fuels.

Congress needs to scrap this year’s farm bill with an eye towards replacing the patchwork of mandates, subsidies, and price supports with true market reforms that more effectively allocate our agricultural resources in ways that serve the American consumer.

We will count your vote on the Farm Bill as a KEY VOTE when calculating the FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard for 2008. The FreedomWorks Economic Scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the Jefferson Award, which recognizes members of Congress with voting records that support economic freedom.