Blue Dog Special Task Force on Rural America Statement on the GOP Farm Bill
Today, the chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition’s Special Task Force on Rural America, Rep. Tom O’Halleran (D-AZ), released the following statement in response to the failure of H.R. 2, the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, to pass the House:
“Since 1933, Congress has produced a farm bill through bipartisan cooperation that led to investments in rural America and supported the men and women who put food on our tables and clothes on our backs. Unfortunately, today we have reached a point where that legacy has been abandoned. A failed partisan process led to a Republican bill that was deeply flawed and would harm rather than support our nation’s farmers and rural communities.
“This should have been an opportunity for both parties to come together to create policies that would create jobs, spur economic growth, and improve life in rural America. Instead, the bill failed our farmers when they need it the most given today’s troubled farm economy. In fact, it cut half a billion dollars from the rural development title, and failed to promote rural economic development. While rural communities require investment in broadband to succeed in the global economy, the farm bill complicated funding for rural broadband, leaving our rural communities behind. In addition to removing economic investments in rural communities, the farm bill would worsen food insecurity and hunger for veterans, rural Americans, and children. We are disappointed that a failed partisan process has brought us to this point. Americans simply deserve better.
“From the outset of this process, this farm bill has been a failure for farmers, our rural communities, and the Americans who depend on them. You cannot write a bill this important to our nation in a backroom without input from the American people. We need to go back to the drawing board and work on a farm bill in way that upholds its long-held, bipartisan tradition. Despite this setback, as Blue Dogs, we’ll continue to roll up our sleeves and work with our colleagues to deliver bipartisan, commonsense solutions. Through the Special Task Force on Rural America, we plan to continue that tradition and reach across the aisle to produce real solutions to better the lives of Americans who live in rural communities, because we know their success is key to our nation’s success. When our Republican colleagues are ready, we will be at the table prepared to work on this critical bill.”