Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, today issued the following statement regarding the release of the House version of the Farm Bill by the House Agriculture Committee. The Senate version of the bill was recently approved by the full Senate with broad bipartisan support, on a vote of 64-35, and represents the most significant reform of American agriculture policy in decades.
“I commend Chairman Lucas and Ranking Member Peterson for moving forward on a draft farm bill. I will review their draft closely to compare it to the significant reforms we accomplished in the bill that recently passed the Senate on a strong bipartisan basis. I am very concerned about some of the differences between the two bills—for example, rather than focusing on fraud and misuse like the Senate bill, the House bill takes far greater cuts in food assistance by changing eligibility rules so that some people truly in need will not receive the help their family needs.
“It is vital that our House colleagues be allowed to complete their work, as failing to pass a bill by the September deadline would jeopardize 16 million jobs and undercut the strong growth in agriculture. I expect them to have a successful markup and for House Leadership to give them time on the House floor as soon as possible so that we can finish the 2012 Farm Bill in a timely manner.”