FPA Urges Congress to Pass Farm Bill That Helps ‘Provide Healthy, Safe, Affordable Food for Everyone.’

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WASHINGTON – Food Policy Action Executive Director Monica Mills moderated a press conference today featuring representatives from leading food, farm and environmental organizations, all urging Congress to pass a bipartisan farm bill that will benefit farmers, families, public health and the environment.

In addition to FPA, the other organizations that participated in the event included Food Research and Action Center, Environmental Working Group, Union of Concerned Scientists, Natural Resources Defense Council and the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.

Below are Mills’ complete remarks she delivered to kick off the event at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C.

Good morning. I’m Monica Mills, Executive Director of Food Policy Action. The groups here represent millions of Americans who support a farm bill that protects our families, helps our farmers, and promotes public health and a healthy environment.

This morning we have come together to emphasize how important it is to move the 2018 Farm Bill forward this year. But we’re not talking about just any Farm Bill for 2018—we want to see a farm bill that is GOOD for the Americans we represent.

Food Policy Action supports the efforts going on right now to get to a version that is as close to the Senate bill as possible. FPA will not support movements to include compromises that go back to the House version. To FPA, no farm bill is better than a bad farm bill.

As you know, the House bill passed by just two votes in a strictly partisan manner with no Democrats supporting the bill at all. From its inception through its passage, the House farm bill was a hot mess. It cut SNAP benefits for hungry families and children, it cut protections to ensure poison is kept out of the food on our plates, and it cut funding for local and regional farm programs. All to pay for additional loopholes for wealthy corporate farmers.

In our recent analysis of six years of votes by House members, the data shows that issues around food have become even more partisan than ever before. And, this is not a one-year fluke. The record shows a systematic strategy that opposes policies to create a more balanced food system.

On the other side of the Capitol, the Senate bill passed with 86 votes in a bipartisan fashion. This version protects hungry families and children, leaves intact critical conservation programs, and makes funding permanent for Local Agriculture Market Programs. The Senate Agriculture Committee worked to provide integrity for SNAP along with common-sense employee training programs, including public-private partnership opportunities. We applaud those efforts.

The Farm Bill should really be called the Food Bill because it affects everything that makes its way to our plates. It should provide healthy, safe, affordable food for everyone. And, it should ensure that healthy food is not a luxury. A tomato should not cost more than a package of cookies at a convenience store. But today it does.

For Food Policy Action, the bottom line is that we support a farm bill that is closer to the Senate version and we’d like to see it happen yet this year.

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