Rep. Huffman Opposes Partisan Farm Bill, Votes To Support Farmers, Conservation, and Nutrition Programs

May 18, 2018

Washington, D.C.- Congressman Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) today voted against the Republicans’ deeply flawed, unpopular Farm Bill, which was rejected by the House of Representatives, that would have cut vital nutrition assistance programs that keep 40 million Americans from going hungry, failed to support economic opportunity for rural America, and weakened environmental protections.

The Republican Farm Bill was defeated on the floor of the House of Representatives by a bipartisan 198-213 vote.

“The Republican Farm Bill completely misses the mark: it abandons our farmers, consumers, and the millions of Americans who depend on SNAP benefits to feed their families and survive,” said Rep. Huffman. “I’m disappointed that Republicans chose to abandon a historically bipartisan bill and instead pursue a partisan special-interest plan at the expense of the American people and a healthy environment. I will continue to push for a better Farm Bill, one that protects and expands SNAP, supports our rural communities, enhances environmental stewardship, and fosters agricultural reform so that we can end food insecurity and malnutrition in our country.”

The Republican Farm Bill:

  • Steals Food from the Hungry: reduces $23 billion in SNAP benefits that children, seniors, students, 1.5 million veterans, 23,000 servicemembers, individuals with disabilities, and working families rely on to keep from going hungry.  
  • Abandons conservation and environmental stewardship: cuts $800 million in the conservation baseline; eliminates safeguards to protect communities, watersheds, and pollinators from pesticides; and ignores bipartisan compromise in the wildfire funding agreement to provide excessive exemptions for activities that impact National Forests.
  • Leaves Rural Communities Behind: slashes hundreds of millions of dollars from job-creating rural development initiatives and loan guarantees for small businesses, while charging new fees for rural development loans; adds new bureaucracy and complexity to high-speed broadband grants that farm communities have already waited on for too long.
  • Wastes Billions of Taxpayer Dollars: every dollar in SNAP for hungry families returns money to farmers, to our economy, and to the Treasury – $1.79 in economic activity for every dollar in benefits – and supports more than 560,000 jobs across the country, including 50,000 in agriculture – yet Republicans are pushing vast, untested new programs that would increase hunger and poverty across the country, according to the CBO.  

Republicans have faced widespread opposition to this bill including from the National Farmers Union, National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, Environmental Working Group, National Young Farmers Coalition, Union of Concerned Scientists, Agriculture Energy Coalition, American Biogas Association, Institute for Agriculture & Trade Policy, AARP, American Academy of Pediatrics, Alliance for Retired Americans, Child Care Aware of America, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Defense Fund, and many others.

Among the amendments added to the Farm Bill during consideration on the House floor was an amendment that undermines critical protection for salmon runs and watersheds in the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. By striking down the Roadless Rule in the Tongass, the Farm Bill now threatens collaborative community efforts to move the forest away from dependency on taxpayer-subsidized, industrial-scale old-growth logging, long since abandoned elsewhere in the national forest system. The amendment was initially defeated by a vote of 205 to 210, but the Republican majority kept the vote open for an additional ten minutes to force members to switch their votes until the amendment narrowly passed by a margin of 208-207.

An additional anti-environmental rider was added that would repeal the Clean Water Rule finalized in 2015, which protects the streams, headwaters, wetlands and other water bodies that serve as a drinking water source for 117 million Americans.