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On behalf of FreedomWorks activists nationwide, I urge you to contact your senators and ask them to vote NO on the Agriculture and Nutrition Act, otherwise known as the Farm Bill, H.R. 2. This bill provides millions in wasteful and unnecessary subsidies, and makes no meaningful reforms to agricultural spending.
The Senate has offered the text of the Agriculture Improvement Act, S. 3042, as a substitute amendment to H.R. 2. This means, though it has the same bill number, the Senate Farm Bill is a completely different piece of legislation from the version that moved through the House. The Senate’s text is a significant step back from the House’s.
The new text, sponsored by Sens. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) includes no work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as the food stamp program. SNAP accounts for over 70 percent of spending in the Farm Bill, and the Senate makes no attempts to reform any aspect of the program. Work requirements for SNAP, which passed in the House, would save taxpayers money and encourage self-sufficiency. Failing to make even minor SNAP reforms ignores the 90 percent of Americans who believe able-bodied adults who receive assistance should be required to work.
On the actual agriculture part of the bill, the story is the same. This bill makes no effort to reduce dependence on subsidies from the federal government. These subsidies tend to prop up particular crops at the expense of others. Under the last Farm Bill, 94 percent of subsidies went to only six crops. However, those six crops only accounted for 28 percent of production. This is not to mention the fact that one-third of subsidies would go to “farmers” who have a median net worth of $3.8 million. The Farm Bill is one of our nations clearest examples of cronyism for special interests, and the version produced by the Senate continues that tradition, with no attempt at reform.
The Senate has an opportunity to implement true reforms in agricultural policy. It could increase efficiency by instituting tighter means tests and payment limits for subsidy programs. It should set reasonable reference prices, and allow the free market to work in the agricultural sector of our economy. It should eliminate protectionism for specific crops, more specifically in our radically authoritarian sugar program. Barring the addition of any of these provisions, there is very little to like about this bill.
FreedomWorks will count vote for this bill on our 2018 Congressional Scorecard and reserves the right to score any amendments made to this bill, should they be allowed votes on the Senate floor. The scorecard is used to determine eligibility for the FreedomFighter Award, which recognizes Members of the House and Senate who consistently vote to support economic freedom and individual liberty.
Adam Brandon, President, FreedomWorks