Farm Bill in Progress: Senate’s Farm Bill Vote-o-rama
By Patty Lovera
The Senate headed home last weekend with no clear indication of how they would tackle the farm bill. There was no agreement on how they would handle the nearly 300 amendments introduced. Then, Monday evening, the deal was announced: they would start a “vote-o-rama” to consider only 73 of the amendments. There were some important amendments on the list of 73 that would make the farm bill stronger and some that would make it significantly weaker.
The biggest disappointment was that the list included no amendments on competition in livestock markets, including an amendment by Senator Grassley that would have banned the ownership of livestock by meatpackers. One bright spot on the list was an amendment by Senators Sanders and Boxer to allow states to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. On Tuesday, 30 amendments were voted on by the full Senate, leaving 43 more to get through on Wednesday before a final vote on the entire bill.
We picked six amendments that we think are particularly important. Three of them were up for a vote on Tuesday. Here’s what happened:
- Senator McCain’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2199) that would repeal a provision from the 2008 Farm Bill that created a USDA inspection program for domestic and imported catfish PASSED. Food & Water Watch opposed this amendment.
- Senator Toomey’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2217) that would eliminate the Organic Certification Cost Share program FAILED. Food & Water Watch opposed this amendment.
- Senator Gillibrand’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2156) that would restore critical funding to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program FAILED. Food & Water Watch supported this amendment.
There are three more from our list that should be voted on today:
- Senator Toomey’s amendment (S. Amdt. 2247) that would exempt community water systems from a requirement to mail drinking water consumer confidence reports. Food & Water Watch OPPOSES this amendment.
- Senator Sanders’ amendment (S. Amdt. 2310) that would allow states to adopt labeling requirements for genetically engineered foods. Food & Water Watch SUPPORTS this amendment.
- Senator Merkley’s amendment (S. Amdt. S. 2382) that would develop crop insurance products for organic crops. Food & Water Watch SUPPORTS this amendment.
After the Senate passes their version of the farm bill, the House still needs to take its turn. The House Agriculture committee is scheduled to begin work on their version of the bill on Wednesday June 27. Stay tuned. And tell your Senators to make sure the bill protects U.S. farmers and consumers.