Campaign 2010

Nov 13, 2013

Rep. Steve Southerland’s Dysfunctional Politics Jeopardizing Farm Bill Negotiations?

Congressman Steve Southerland – who earlier this year “killed reauthorization of the farm bill with a controversial last minute amendment” – has been tapped by Washington Republicans to play a leading role in the newest round of farm bill negotiations – and there are already early signs that Congressman Southerland’s reckless agenda could stand in the way of solutions for North Florida farmers and rural families who are facing uncertainty without a new farm bill signed into law.

The Miami Herald wrote that Congressman Southerland’s brand of controversial and dysfunctional farm politics represents a “huge political dogfight that could sink the entire bill,” while AgProfessional.com explained that Congressman Southerland’s mere presence on the conference committee “suggests that House leadership will continue to insist on much bigger food stamp cuts than those likely to be readily accepted by the Senate.”

“Congressman Steve Southerland’s reckless Washington politics already torpedoed the farm bill once  – but now Congressman Southerland’s irresponsible agenda could jeopardize the Farm Bill again,” said David Bergstein of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. “North Florida farmers, ranchers and rural families deserve the security and stability of a farm bill – but after Congressman Southerland’s reckless government shutdown and his vote against preventing a catastrophic default, it’s hard for North Florida families to trust Congressman Southerland to put aside his reckless agenda to pass a new farm bill into law.”

BACKGROUND:

Tampa Bay Times: “Southerland Effectively Killed Reauthorization of the Farm Bill.”  “Southerland effectively killed reauthorization of the farm bill with a controversial last-minute amendment aimed at increasing work requirements for food stamp recipients.” [Tampa Bay Times, 6/30/13]

On October 1, Farm Bill Expired for the Second Time Under Republican Leadership. “Overshadowed by the government shutdown, the U.S. farm subsidy law expired for the second time on Tuesday with lawmakers still deadlocked over how to confront cuts in food assistance programs for low-income Americans […] With expiration, the Agriculture Department lost authority to run agricultural export, global food aid, livestock disaster relief and some conservation programs. Crop subsidies, crop insurance and food stamps, the big-ticket programs, are permanently authorized and remain in business.” [Reuters, 10/01/13]


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