Senator Charles Grassley sent out on You Tube, his views regarding the new Farm Bill. Below the link is a transcript of the video which was produced in Washington, D. C.
This week negotiations on the farm bill came to a close. After two years, the House of Representatives passed the bill on Wednesday by a vote of 251 to 166. When the bill comes up for a vote in the Senate, I will be voting against it.
The country needs good farm policy that provides a limited safety net to ensure small and medium sized farms have the resources to weather the uncontrollable risks they face every year. The farm program must also be defensible to the American taxpayer. As a farmer, a citizen and a legislator, I believe it is wrong to expect or allow the government to give unlimited support to any farm. The $17 trillion debt is real, and we need to treat it as such.
The individual Senate- and House- passed farm and nutrition bills included nearly identical provisions that I championed that would have placed a hard cap on farm payments and accurately define a farmer. My efforts stem from a need to get the farm program back to its original intent. Currently 10 percent of the wealthiest farmers receive 70 percent of the benefit from the farm program. This puts those small- and medium-sized farms and young and beginning farmers at a disadvantage. These are the very people the farm program is supposed to help. The committee leaders negotiating the final bill struck my simple, common-sense and enforceable provisions from the final bill. And, $387 million in savings are no longer realized.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some positives in the bill. The crop insurance program remains in place to help farmers manage their own risk and the dairy program ended up better than where we started. But, this bill is a missed opportunity for true reform. A few people put parochial interests ahead of agriculture as a whole. Voting yes on this bill would be an endorsement of the egregious manipulation of my payment limit reforms behind closed doors. I cannot in good conscience do that.