Deeply Flawed, Ideological Farm Bill Fails in House; Senate Should Pass Science-Based Bill That’s Good for Farmers, Communities and Eaters

Statement by Ricardo Salvador, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 18, 2018

WASHINGTON (May 18, 2018)—The U.S. House of Representatives voted today 213 to 198 to block an ill-considered, highly partisan farm bill. The draft bill would have saddled millions of American with unnecessary, misguided, and mean-spirited work requirements to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly known as food stamps). It also would have eliminated the popular Conservation Stewardship Program, which offers farmers incentives to protect water supplies, build healthy soil, and better prepare for floods and droughts.

In addition, provisions tacked onto the bill in recent days would harm the environment, farmers and eaters. One amendment would severely limit waterways and wetlands protected under the Clean Water Act and another would allow Environmental Protection Agency to approve new pesticides without regard to their impact on endangered and threatened fish and wildlife. Another measure would preempt state and local agricultural laws intended to promote local farm products and protect communities from the harmful practices of large agribusiness corporations. 

Below is a statement by Ricardo Salvador, director of the Food and Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. 

“From the start, the House farm bill authors wanted to eviscerate the SNAP program, despite the government’s own data showing it has lifted millions out of poverty in rural and urban communities alike and is one of the nation’s most efficient and cost-effective safety net programs. Good riddance to this deeply flawed bill.”

“It’s now up to the Senate to draft legislation that makes healthy food available for all, gives farmers the tools they want and need to be resilient and successful, and protects public health and the environment.”