WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02), Ranking Member of the U.S. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, released the below statement on the’s passage of the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill by the full U.S. House of Representatives in a vote of 213 to 211.
This is the second time the U.S. House has considered this legislation, which previously failed on the House floor in a vote last month. Due to substantial concerns with the negative impact the bill would have on rural communities, farmers, seniors and children, Congressman Bishop opposed the legislation.
“I again voted against the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill. The bill the House voted on last week was identical to the bill that failed to pass on May 18. I have long supported our farmers, ranchers, and producers, and I remain committed to strengthening American agriculture and rural communities. However, I was unable to support this legislation’s radical cuts, reductions, and changes to programs vital to our country’s agricultural, nutritional, and rural development needs.
“I object to the nearly $800 million cut in the bill’s conservation title that would effectively eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest working lands conservation program. Additionally, instead of making it easier for rural communities to gain access to capital for water and sewer infrastructure, housing, broadband, and economic development, this bill would drastically reduce resources for these needs.
“The bill also fails to include investments in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s telemedicine programs, fails to include funding for scholarships at 1890 land grant institutions, and lacks much needed investments in agriculture research and discovery.
“Finally, as I have said before, the bill’s reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would dramatically harm our nation’s most vulnerable populations, including kids, veterans, and senior citizens. SNAP already has strong work requirements, and the stricter requirements included in this bill would leave our most vulnerable hungry. The proposed job training requirements would create a huge, permanent bureaucratic expansion of government, and do so at a massive financial cost. In 2012, Georgia proposed to add new work and job training requirements to food stamp eligibility, but ultimately decided against it when the fiscal note demonstrated it would add a net cost for the state of more than $300 million. This bill would introduce similar massive costs to all states in the nation.
“This is unacceptable. I urge my colleagues in the Senate to reject this legislation, and I hope that Congress can come together in a bipartisan manner to craft a Farm Bill that better provides for our nation’s nutritional, agricultural, and rural development requirements.”