Nonprofit, nonpartisan journalism. Supported by readers.


House passes farm bill without food stamp provisions

The agriculture-only farm bill passed the House in spite of fierce opposition from Democrats, including Rep. Tim Walz of Minnesota’s 1st Congressional District.

In a statement after the vote, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Sen. Debbie Stabenow called the House bill “not a real farm bill and an insult to rural America,” but said the Senate would go to a joint committee if the House did. 

Comments (2)

  1. Submitted by Steve Titterud on 07/12/2013 - 05:53 am.

    So what were the carrots and sticks used to switch the votes…

    …of 50 Republicans ??

    It would be highly interesting to know the details.

  2. Submitted by Eric Paul Jacobsen on 07/12/2013 - 07:36 am.

    Stop the War on the Poor!

    The ignorance and prejudice on display among Senate Republicans are both equally hideous. I challenge any one of these armchair moralists to provide any evidence at all that food stamps detract more than they add to our economy.

    Since there has been a welfare system, the poverty rate has been lower than it was before. The data are well known and can be accessed easily at the website of the National Poverty Center of the University of Michigan.

    Milton Friedman himself concluded that “unemployment insurance makes it more attractive to enter the labor force.” Look up Robert Nielsen’s review of the economic research pursuing the relationship between welfare benefits and unemployment at his blog. The notion that we would increase employment by increasing the hardship of poverty is a myth, made popular only because it has ignorance, class prejudice, and a big advertising budget behind it.

    Hunger is real, and mild forms of it, which we call food insecurity, afflict millions of US-Americans – about one in six. These millions include children whose mental development is impaired and whose reduced performance in school diminishes their future job prospects. To allow children to suffer malnutrition is obviously immoral, but to those with a deficiency of conscience, including, presumably, most of the Republicans in today’s US House of Representatives, we can point out that poorly nourished children grow up to be less productive adults. Check out the facts at the website of Feeding America

    The farmers’ side of the equation is politically easier to defend, since farm laborers are among the hardest-working and least compensated producers in our economy. Of course, since the 1970s, farm subsidies have been keyed to growth rather than need, which is a colossal mistake that has made giant agricultural conglomerates rather than farmers themselves the beneficiaries while ruining thousands of small-scale farm operations. We can and should restore agricultural subsidies to the form they took in the 1930s, when they were limited and distributed where they were needed. But to say that there should be no agricultural subsidies at all is outrageous. Any Minnesotan with an awareness of how much farm productivity depends on factors beyond human control – the outrageous slings and arrows of our northern prairie weather – should understand immediately why farmers deserve our support when they have a bad season.

Leave a Reply