On the Senate floor today, Sen. Ag. Comm. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) discussed the link between conservation compliance and federal crop insurance.
A video replay of Chairwoman Stabenow’s full remarks is available here, while the Senator’s remarks as prepared for delivery can be found below.
I want to talk specifically today about the work we’re doing in the Conservation title of the Farm Bill. This is about jobs: Healthy wildlife habitats and clean, fishable waters are not only good for our environment, but they also support hunting, fishing and other outdoor recreation that benefits our economy and creates jobs.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Il) talked at length today on the Senate floor about an amendment to the Farm Bill which focuses on federal support for the crop insurance program.
On the Senate floor today, Sens. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) and Sen. Ag. Comm. Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) disscused an amendment to the Farm Bill regarding the SNAP program.
Today on the Senate floor, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R., Okla.) discussed an amendment to the Farm Bill regarding the SNAP program.
On the Senate floor today, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D., N.H.) discussed an amendment to the Farm Bill that would change some aspects of U.S. sugar policy.
Sen. Shaheen noted that the reforms contained in the amendment would not eliminate the safety net for sugar producers.
From the American Sugar Alliance: Sugar & America’s Food Security – A Free Market Approach:
On the House floor today, Rep. Jim McGovern (D., Mass.), a member of the House Ag. Committee, discussed the SNAP program (food stamps) and the Committee passed Farm Bill, which contains approximately $20 billion in cuts to the program.
The House is expected to take up the Farm Bill in June, policy observers have noted that nutrition funding, which is the largest component of Farm Bill spending, will be contentious issue in the floor debate.
A large number of amendments have been filed to the 2013 Farm Bill (S.954). Yesterday, senators discussed the broad based legislation for a second day on the Senate floor, while considering four of the amendments to the measure.
Two of the amendments passed easily. An update yesterday afternoon at the Senate Democrats Online discussed the two amendments, one that was proposed by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D., Wash.) (amendment #919 regarding Indian tribes – land and soil conservation programs) and the other by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) (amendment #945, as modified eligibility criteria for agriculture irrigation assistance).
And Ramsey Cox reported yesterday at The Hill’s Floor Action Blog that, “The Senate began amendment work Tuesday on a five-year farm bill, passing the first amendment with broad bipartisan support.
“The Senate voted 87-8 to accept an amendment introduced by Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.). Her amendment would allow Indian tribes to participate in soil and water conservation programs…[A]fter the vote on Cantwell’s amendment, the Senate also approved Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-Ala.) amendment, which aims to clarify the eligibility criteria for those who qualify for agriculture irrigation assistance. His amendment was passed by voice vote.”
In contrast, two separate amendments that were related to the politically controversial nutrition program, which is the largest component of Farm Bill spending, both failed yesterday.
On the Senate floor today, Sen. Pat Roberts (R., Kans.) discussed an amendment to the 2013 Farm Bill relating to the SNAP program (food stamps).
Sen. Roberts noted that the House Ag. Comm. passed Farm Bill contained over $20 billion in cuts to the federal program while the Senate Ag. Comm. version of the bill included approximately $4 billion in cuts. His amendment, which he discussed in some detail, what have cut some aspects of the SNAP program by a total of $30 billion.
A related tweet from Sen. Roberts on this issue:
— Pat Roberts (@SenPatRoberts) May 21, 2013
On the Senate floor today, Senate Ag. Committee Member Heidi Heitkamp (D., N.D.) discussed aspects of the sugar program during the debate on the 2013 Farm Bill.
On Tuesday, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D., N.Y.), a member of the Ag. Committee, discussed the importance of the SNAP program (food stamps).
The Farm Bill passed out of the Ag. Comm. included approximately $4 billion in cuts to the program. Sen. Gillibrand maintained that the program should not be subject to any cuts in the farm legislation.
A portion of her remarks are included below.
After the vote on her amendment, Sen. Gillibrand tweeted:
— Kirsten Gillibrand (@SenGillibrand) May 21, 2013
Yesterday afternoon, the Senate proceeded to consider the Farm Bill (S.954).
“Democrats and Republicans disagree on many things. So it’s really remarkable and encouraging to see how well Senators Stabenow and Senator Cochran — the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee — worked together to bring the agriculture jobs bill to the floor. Their work has been exemplary — some would say old-fashioned — the way things used to be,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said yesterday.
“In an effort to expedite the floor process, the committee even included many of the amendments that were adopted last year, when the Senate considered and passed a farm bill. I hope their cooperative spirit guides our work on this important legislation. American farmers are counting on us. So is the economy,” Leader Reid noted; while adding that, “But to keep American farms strong, Congress must pass a strong farm bill.”
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) discussed Farm Bill issues on the Senate floor on Monday.
In part, Sen. Brown noted that, “People who are going to receive federally subsidized crop insurance need to show they are meeting basic conservation requirements. Again, the days of subsidies without conditions and subsidies without responsibility are over. It is an example of what can happen when groups with different perspectives— the commodities farmers and the conservationists -come together to listen to each other. By relinking crop insurance subsidies with good environmental practices, this bill makes our farm safety net more defensible and protects our natural resources.”
On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Thad Cochran (R., Miss.) discussed the Farm Bill on the Senate floor.
In part, Sen. Cochran noted that, “The committee has crafted reforms in the nutrition title to eliminate waste, fraud, and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. These are big challenges, and these challenges have been met with a recognition that there are people who need the support of programs such as this—schoolchildren who are attending school and getting the benefit of a reduced price and, in some cases, free meals at school. This has made major contributions to the quality of work and the degree and level of education that children are able to absorb and benefit from, and it is tied to these programs.”
On Monday, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D., Mich.) discussed the Farm Bill on the Senate floor.
In part, Chairwoman Stabenow noted that, “That is why we have what we call the farm bill. We have a farm bill because farmers are in the riskiest business in the world. We saw that last year as our country was in the grip of the worst drought in generations. We saw this as ranchers had to cull their herds because they couldn’t get enough food or water for their cattle. We saw all across the country that farmers lost their crops in late spring freezes that wiped out cherry and apple crops in Michigan and other parts of the country. That is why the top goal of the agriculture reform bill is risk management. We are reforming farm programs, ending direct payments and other subsidies that have no relationship to risk and instead giving farmers market-based risk management tools. That is the hallmark of this farm bill.
“We want to make sure a farm that has been passed on for generations doesn’t face bankruptcy because of a drought or other events outside the farmer’s control. We also want to make sure that when there is a drought we are conserving our precious soil and water resources. When it comes to conservation, the farm bill is risk management for the whole country. Conservation programs in the farm bill make sure our soil doesn’t blow away and our waters aren’t polluted by runoff.
“In many parts of the country last year we had a drought that was worse than the Dust Bowl, but we didn’t have a dust bowl. We didn’t have out-of-control erosion, and that is because the farm bill did what it was supposed to do in conservation. Soil stayed on the ground. It is easy to take that for granted as well.”