Costa Statement on House Agriculture Committee Farm Bill Consideration
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Costa (CA-16) released the following statement after the House Committee on Agriculture considered and voted on H.R. 2 – the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 – more commonly known as the Farm Bill:
“We have some of the most productive farms in the world in our San Joaquin Valley, while roughly 25 percent of individuals living in our district receive nutrition assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. I am, and I have always been, committed to commonsense farm and food policy that feeds Americans and ensures our farmers, ranchers, and dairy producers can be successful. Unfortunately, we did not consider this type of policy today.
“The Farm Bill we considered today is deeply disappointing. For over 40 years, our Farm Bill has been the product of bipartisan deliberation, negotiation, and cooperation during which we come together and work out our differences to write America’s food bill. Today’s bill was not the result of this serious and important process, and this is reflected powerfully in the bad quality of the policy we considered today. This bill serves some very well, but it also abandons large numbers of Americans, pits regions of our country against each other, and creates rifts within industries and communities.
“Although there are areas of this measure that may be good for some Valley farmers, there are important provisions that we must improve before we enact the Farm Bill. We should increase our investment in programs promoting trade and make the dairy provisions fairer and more effective. We should strengthen the effectiveness and efficiency of SNAP, not dismantle and devastate the parts of SNAP that are working, and working well. The Farm Bill is about supporting our food producers and feeding Americans. It must serve our communities, not merely specific individuals or groups within our communities.
“My vote today was not a vote against those who may benefit from the bill we considered. My vote today was a call for a commonsense, bipartisan Farm Bill that will enlarge the group served to the widest range of Americans possible, including those who may benefit from today’s measure.
“The Senate is currently working on a bipartisan Farm Bill, and it is my hope and belief that eventually we will reach a bipartisan policy agreement that will pass in both chambers and the President will sign. This is how we should pass legislation that reauthorizes Americans’ farm and food priorities to ensure they serve our communities, our economy, and our nation.”