New Analysis: Food Policy Increasingly Partisan Issue, Despite Popularity Among Voters That Congress Work Across Both Sides of the Aisle

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Data shows that over six years, GOP members repeatedly rejected legislation to feed hungry families, advance sustainability, and keep food safe

WASHINGTON, D.C. — In 55 separate votes, House Republicans shot down legislation written to preserve federal food stamps for hungry children and families, safeguard the environment, protect consumers, and support small-acreage farmers, according to analysis released today by Food Policy Action (FPA).

An Eater’s Guide to Congress, which analyzes critical food and agriculture votes over the past six years, finds that House Republicans have an average score of only 20 percent on votes that affect how food gets to our plates. In comparison, Democratic members received an average score of 93 percent.

“We are currently watching House Republicans hold up the reauthorization of the 2018 Farm Bill, which expires on September 30, using food issues as a partisan divide,” said Monica Mills, Executive Director of FPA. “Republicans have voted to allow toxic chemicals to be added to our water and soil, made it harder for hungry families to get assistance, and given big agribusinesses additional loopholes for government payments. And, all of this has been done at the expense of hard-working small family farmers.”

An Eater’s Guide rates food- and agriculture-related votes taken by each member of the House in five categories: the 2018 Farm Bill, Feeding Hungry People, Ensuring Healthy Soil and Clean Water, Knowing What’s In Our Food, and Supporting Small Family Farmers Over Big Ag.

Individual members are assigned scores in each category, as well as an overall score. Republican leaders received some of the lowest overall scores of any members: Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisc., received 16 percent; Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Calif., earned 13 percent; and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, La., had a meager 11 percent score.

“Food policy has been a strong issue for voters over the years and across party lines,” said Celinda Lake, Principal at Lake Research Partners, pollster and political strategist. “Access to affordable and healthy food is of personal importance for Americans across the country and a candidate’s stance or voting history on these important issues is politically powerful and can certainly help differentiate those from others in a wide field of strong contenders.”

An Eater’s Guide is accompanied by a digital toolkit, designed to show voters how their own members of Congress voted on important food and farm policies; how to ask questions of their elected representatives; actions to take between now and Election Day; and, most importantly, where to vote to make sure their views are represented.

See the complete report at  http://www.foodpolicyaction.org/an-eaters-guide-to-congress to find out more about how members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted on food and agriculture issues.

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Food Policy Action was established in 2012 through a collaboration of national food policy leaders in order to hold legislators accountable on votes that have an effect on food and farming. Our goal is to change the national dialogue on food policy by educating the public on how elected officials are voting on these issues. Through education and the annual National Food Policy Scorecard, more people will be armed with the information they need to vote with their forks and elect more food policy leaders across the country.

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