Farm Bill Failure - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Farm Bill Failure

The Farm Bill, which mostly refers to food stamps and nutrition programs has legislators on both sides of the aisle battling it out, again.

The Republican led U.S. House rejected a 500 billion dollar Farm Bill, that would reduce 2 billion dollars a year to Food Stamp programs, expand the the federally subsidized Crop Insurance program, and slash subsidy payments for farmers.

In a 234-195 vote, the controversial Farm Bill was shot down Thursday in the U.S. House. The bill would have cut billions in Food Stamp programs and would have eliminated the five billion dollar a year subsidy paid to farmers and landowners whether they plant crops or not, and nine billion dollars would have gone to a Crop Insurance program.

"Well the important part is to give farmers the information, the rules of the road so they can plan, so their bankers can plan on their future crop years," said Congressman Mac Thornberry (R)Texas.

Gregg Eastman a wheat farmer says, farmers really need the Farm Bill to plan for the future. "We depend on it because, we make our yearly decisions based on the Farm Bill," said Eastman.

Farming unlike most industries is at the mercy of mother nature. One Texoma farmer said, it doesn't matter how good or bad of a farmer you are when the weather is against you.

"It's really been bad, because we just, you know it seems like we just cannot get rain when we need it. And on the sweet crop, we've had three freezes on it," said Eastman.

There were a number of Democrats and Republicans who didn't like parts of the bill, so they voted against it stating it didn't meet all of their expectations. Congressman Mac Thornberry said, without a five year plan farmers don't have stability. His comments on the food stamp portion of the bill was simple.

"So one of the modest reforms that's in this bill is just to say you didn't automatically enroll in food stamps. If you qualified you qualified, if you didn't you didn't," said Rep. Thornberry.

80 percent of the Farm Bill is for Food Stamps and other nutrition programs, which is the main cause of division among the nations leaders. But in the spirit of the American farmer, Eastman said they will press on and hope for the best.

"We're gonna keep doing what we're doing. And we're gonna keep on keeping on," said Eastman.

Thornberry said, even if the bill is not perfect, progress should be the goal. The bill did not pass because, it did not have enough Republican party support. 62 Republicans voted against it saying, the cuts to spending weren't deep enough.

If another bill is not created, law makers could push for an extension of the 2008 Farm Bill, which doesn't expire until September. If they fail to pass another bill, the law will revert back to the way it was written in 1949.

Jenyne Donaldson, Newschannel Six.

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