Monday, December 17, 2007

Farm Bill round-up...thank (or discipline) your senators

So...the Farm Bill passed and here's some recap. Every motion for subsidy reform failed. Some good nutrition stuff happened, but I have no details yet (stay tuned, I've got a question into the Greater Chicago Food Depository get their perspective). Durbin voted for all reform votes. Obama was a no show for the voting except for Dorgan-Grassley which he voted in favor of. In the immortal words of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and her Scoobies..."Where do we go from here?"

We write letters, of course! We spent a lot of time telling senators to push for reform and a strong nutrition title. Now, we can see how they voted and praise them or voice our displeasure. Bread for the World has the cute idea of sending holiday cards with your message. I think that's a stellar, green use of those extra cards you were thinking about recycling. The 37 senators (Durbin included) who voted for the very progressive Lugar-Lautenberg (FRESH amendment) especially deserve our praise and love.

Here are the sites to find the official roll-call voting records on the big 3 amendments:
Lugar-Lautenberg (FRESH) would have provided the most broad reforms to our nation's commodity payment program -- reforms which, if passed, would have saved billions of dollars to invest in nutrition programs, specialty crop programs, critical conservation initiatives and the McGovern-Dole international school feeding program.

Dorgan-Grassely was the one that had the best shot at passing. It would have ended million-dollar subsidy payments, closed loopholes in farm programs and directed the savings to increase funding for programs the country needs.

Klobuchar/Brown/Durbin would have reformed the subsidy system to prevent farm couples who clear $750,000 in net farm household income and part-time farm couples who clear $250,000 from receiving subsidies. It would have generated some modest savings to redirect into conservation, rural development, healthy foods and energy programs.

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