Thank you for contacting me about amendment number 74 and other conservation related amendments to the House Farm Bill (H.R. 1947). I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.
As you know, the FARRM Act, more commonly referred to as the Farm Bill, authorizes a wide variety of federal programs including conservation, forestry, crop insurance, and food nutrition programs. The first Farm Bill was passed in 1933 and is typically considered by Congress for reauthorization every five years. Without passing a bill, many of the programs would expire or revert back to how they were managed under laws passed in the 1940s.
I believe the bipartisan Senate Farm Bill should have been our starting point for reauthorizing the legislation in this session of Congress. However, the House Agriculture Committee, working with some of the most extreme ideologues in the House, loaded the bill up with outrageous and painful provisions, from the King amendment to undermine food safety and harm California egg producers, to massive subsidies for corporate agribusiness, to the attacks on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that would leave millions of Americans hungry.
As you may know, there were over 200 amendments submitted to H.R. 1947. Amendment number 74 to the Farm Bill would have eliminated payments to projects that do not show strong conservation benefits. For example, it would have eliminated subsidies for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations and instead provided greater support to farms that are reducing pesticide use or are transitioning to organic farming methods. I coauthored and voted in favor of this amendment along with Representatives Blumenauer and Moran. Unfortunately the amendment failed on the House floor by a vote of 157-266.
For all of these and other reasons, I voted against the FARRM Act when it was brought to the House floor for a vote. I have called on the House leadership to remove these detrimental provisions during any final bill negotiations. We need a Farm Bill that protects our environment, supports our small farmers, and addresses hunger in America.
Thank you again for expressing your views on this crucial issue. The people of California’s 2nd District are the most important voices I listen to while serving in Congress. Please do not hesitate to contact my office if I can be of service to you in the future.
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