On June 20, the House of Representatives voted 195-234 against H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013, better known as the 2013 Farm Bill. The legislation failed to provide sufficient reform of the federal government’s labyrinthine, outdated, and wasteful policies on agriculture, and was rightlydefeated. Several lawmakers offered worthy reform amendments, only to see their efforts shot down. In many cases, those amendments were defeated with an assist from Republicans whose putative fiscal conservative values vanished when opportunities to serve special interests arose.
“Because the Farm Bill did not pass, the House Republicans that make up CCAGW’s list of ‘Farm Vote Follies’ still have an opportunity to make good on the fiscal conservatism that each of them espoused on the campaign trail”
In an effort to call out the worst offenders, CCAGW today released “Farm Vote Follies,” a list of the 46 Republican members who abandoned the interests of taxpayers by voting against at least nine out of 16 amendments that would have resulted in a better Farm Bill. These amendments included reforms to the sugar program, which enriches a tiny number of sugar processors at the expense of consumers and sugar-containing product manufacturers; the Market Access Program, which pays for commodity producers to market their wares overseas and is currently paying for a reality television fashion show in India; and crop insurance, which cost taxpayers a record $14 billion in fiscal year 2014.
The two Republican congressmen most hostile to taxpayers and consumers during the amendment process were Reps. David Joyce (Ohio) and Michael Grimm (N.Y.), both of whom voted for the interests of taxpayers just twice out of the 16 amendments. Reps. Joyce and Grimm are freshman members, but their record thus far does not bode well for CCAGW’s Congressional Ratings for the 113th Congress. Third-worst was Rep. Jeff Denham, who voted to improve farm bill policy only three times out of 16 opportunities.
“Because the Farm Bill did not pass, the House Republicans that make up CCAGW’s list of ‘Farm Vote Follies’ still have an opportunity to make good on the fiscal conservatism that each of them espoused on the campaign trail,” said CCAGW President Tom Schatz. “CCAGW will be watching to make sure that those who claim to support free markets and less wasteful government do their part when another opportunity crops up for real reform. A better Farm Bill is possible, but only with their support.”