WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL) today responded to passage of a revised House Farm Bill, saying that while the legislation moves agriculture policy in the right direction, it represents a missed opportunity to enact badly-needed reforms to the federal food stamp program.
Rep. Roby, who serves on the House Committee on Agriculture, voted in favor of H.R. 2642, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, better known as the Farm Bill. The bill retains the agriculture components of the original Farm Bill that failed to pass last month, but does not include the components that reformed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), or food stamps.
Because food stamp spending is mandatory in nature and does not require reauthorization, without reform the status quo will continue unabated.
“The revised Farm Bill is a positive step for agriculture policy,” Rep Roby said. “This bill contains many reforms we’ve been working on for two years, including ending direct payments, consolidating more than 100 duplicative programs and several regulatory relief measures. It offers parity for Alabama farmers and restricts the increasingly-frequent practice of paying landowners to let fertile cropland go unplanted – a reform I proposed originally.
“However, by removing the nutrition components of the bill, we have missed a unique opportunity to reform government and rein in spending. The original Farm Bill contained reforms that would have saved taxpayers $20 billion by reducing waste, fraud and abuse in the food stamp program. Without these badly-needed reforms, the unrestrained food stamp spending policies left over from the Pelosi Congress will continue.
“I voted for the revised Farm Bill because it protects Alabama farmers and moves federal agriculture policy in the right direction. But, I fear that we missed a rare opportunity to reform a mandatory government spending program. I’ve made it a priority during my time in Congress to find ways to rein in reckless government spending through responsible reforms, and that will remain my priority despite this setback.”
The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 passed by a vote of 216 to 208.
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