Delaney on Failed GOP Farm Bill: It’s Time for a Bipartisan Approach

May 18, 2018
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Today, the House of Representatives considered H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 – more commonly known as the Farm Bill. While the Farm Bill has been traditionally drafted on a bipartisan basis to serve as the primary agricultural and food policy tool for the federal government, this year, it has been hyper-partisan. For the first time in 46 years, the Farm Bill passed out of the House Committee on Agriculture without bipartisan support. Congressman John K. Delaney opposed the bill, which failed by a 198-213 vote.  

This partisan Farm Bill drastically cuts the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). By reducing funding by $23 billion, it negatively impacts the 40 million struggling Americans who rely on this program to put food on their tables. Two out of every three people who receive assistance from SNAP are children, disabled, or elderly, and these cuts threaten the free school meals for 265,000 children and moves nearly 1.5 million veterans closer to poverty.

The Farm Bill undermines efforts to protect farmland and its surrounding environment by eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), the nation’s largest working lands conservation program that helps farmers implement sustainable farming practices, and rolls back environmental safeguards.

“It’s hard to overstate just how disastrous and shameful this bill is and it is a victory for the country that it was rejected by a bipartisan vote,” said Congressman John K. Delaney (MD-6). “This hyper-partisan distortion of a farm bill is a reversal of decades of good precedent and is a huge missed opportunity to actually work together in a constructive way. The fact is, 43% of U.S. households don't earn enough to afford a monthly budget and 70% of our children live in a county where there is no evidence of upward mobility. Yet, Republican leaders can somehow justify this attempted cut to SNAP after voting for a tax bill that adds nearly $2 trillion to our deficit, we simply have to have better priorities. Today’s vote shows that the answer is working in a bipartisan manner and focusing on the goals that we all agree on: to help farmers thrive in a global marketplace, encourage rural economic growth, and support families.”

Providing only modest support of $1.40 per person per meal, SNAP lifts 8 million Americans out of poverty every year, including 4 million children, and is one of the most effective anti-poverty programs we have. Fundamentally, SNAP serves as a short-term fallback for families facing adversity through unemployment or underemployment, with the average SNAP recipient using the program for only 10 months. Research has shown the benefits of these programs continue for years after participation in the program has ended.