PRESS RELEASE: U.S. Representative Massie Votes in Favor of Agriculture Reform
“I voted for the bill because separating the two programs is a prerequisite to real reform, and represents a significant change in the way Washington does business”
WASHINGTON – Today, Congressman Massie voted in favor of the House farm bill. For the first time since the early 1970s the new farm bill removes food stamp spending from agriculture policy. The Congressman, along with 24 other Republican members, had called for this separation in a letter to House leadership on June 10, 2013.
“I voted for the bill because separating the two programs is a prerequisite to real reform, and this represents a significant change in the way Washington does business,” said Rep. Massie. “It is good to see leadership moving in the right direction on this issue.”
Congressman Massie voted against the initial version of the farm bill, which was bloated with misdirected expenditures unrelated to Agriculture.
“The farm bill I voted against two weeks ago was a food stamp bill masquerading as a farm bill, with 80% of the funding going to food stamps. It contained only meager welfare reforms barely slowing the exponential growth of that entitlement program.”
Massie continued, “As a conservative, I’m glad to see direct payments eliminated in this new farm bill. As a cattle farmer I understand firsthand the importance of agricultural policy reform. While there are still issues with this bill, it is important to recognize that removing the food stamp portion of it is a key first step in a larger process. It is also important to recognize that decoupling food stamps from the rest of the bill gives us the opportunity to debate nearly $400 billion as a standalone item. As a matter of open and transparent government, our constituents deserve to have these two issues debated separately.”
This bill must still go through the conference process, and Massie is looking to see continued progress.
“I hope leadership will work to improve this bill throughout the conference process,” said Massie.
Further, the new Farm Bill still contains the Massie-Polis-Blumenauer Industrial Hemp Amendment the House passed two weeks ago.
“This amendment is a small but fundamental change in the laws that hopefully will one day allow Kentucky farmers to grow industrial hemp again,” said Rep. Massie.