Political Expediency Trumped Moral Responsibility in House Farm Bill Vote

Political expediency trumped moral responsibility in the House’s vote on the Farm Bill. In the end, the House made only cosmetic changes to the outdated commodity payment system that benefits the favored few at the expense of broader, more equitable support for U.S. farmers of modest means.

While obviously disappointing, the passage of the House’s version of the 2007 Farm Bill is by no means the end of the push for broad reform. Wealthy special interests can only plug the leaks in the dam for so long.

The tide of reform for U.S. farm policy is still coming in. Eventually, the flood of constituents calling for a fair farm bill will overwhelm the narrow financial interests of the select few.

Although the House bill provides funding increases in nutrition assistance for hungry people here and abroad, Congress refused to shift money from wealthy landowners to farm and rural people who really need help. By passing up the opportunity to make needed changes in our commodity payment system, Congress also failed to reduce the negative effects of our farm policies on struggling farmers in Africa and other poor parts of the world.

As long as our current system of commodity payments remains the same, we are hindering our farm and rural neighbors in this country and around the world from making a decent living and feeding their families.

The Senate leadership can reclaim the moral high ground by giving priority to reform of farm commodity programs when they take up the bill in September.

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