Costa Opposes Partisan, Undebated Farm Bill

Washington, DC- Rep. Jim Costa opposed a highly partisan, misguided Farm Bill that passed the House today. This legislation was made public late Wednesday evening when Republican Leadership made the decision to spring the bill to the floor for a vote.

This bill was opposed by almost every organization representing agricultural and nutrition interests. The legislation did not include a reauthorization of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Furthermore, it also would repeal the 1938 and 1949 laws endangering future efforts to reform the nation’s agriculture policies.

During a speech to the House Costa said, “The Farm Bill is usually one of the most bipartisan things we do, not today. Even though unlike myself, many of my colleagues were not farm kids, I assumed they could tell a horse’s head from his rear, but they’re totally backwards on this one.

“This stunt makes a mockery of Chairman Lucas, Ranking Member Peterson, and the committee’s work over the last year and a half. Farmers, ranchers, and anyone who believes in government transparency must be shaking their heads and saying there they go again.

“Unlike many of my colleagues on this side of the aisle, I supported the Farm Bill when it failed a few weeks ago because I believed in moving the process forward. This does not move us forward; it moves us back.”

For over a year and a half, Costa has been working to craft bipartisan legislation through the normal, committee process that could win support on both sides of the aisle. During floor debate, Costa warned his colleagues that approving this measure could mean that this body never considers a Farm Bill again under regular order.

Repealing the permanent law removes the threat that often forces Congress to take action on a Farm Bill. Currently, when the Farm Bill expires the nation’s agriculture policy revert to 1949 levels which roughly doubles the price the government pays for milk. This is then passed on to families who are already facing their stretched-thin budgets.

Republican Leadership has also made no promises that approving this bill will lead to a conference committee with the Senate that could craft final legislation. Without a conference committee, today’s vote is an empty attempt to create cover in rural America for previous failures to pass a 5-year Farm Bill.