This blog is the third in our Farm Bill series focusing in on key issues of concern to those in our network.
HR 2, the House version of the 2018 Farm Bill, went to the House floor for a vote on May 18, and failed.
PAN was one of more than 500 organizations who voiced opposition to the House bill, including farmer organizations, advocates for rural communities and hunger and social justice groups.
It’s likely the bill will be brought back to the floor for a vote again the week of June 18 if House leadership can secure enough votes. They are currently considering a deal that trades votes for this controversial Farm Bill with votes for anti-immigrant, anti-worker legislation introduced by Rep. Goodlatte; this legislation would undermine farmworkers’ wages and working conditions. This deal would be bad for all of us.
Together, we helped stop a dangerous bill, but the work continues. The House Farm Bill would have rolled back pesticide protections for waterways and endangered species, including native pollinators — and weakened protections for farmworkers as well. It would have also limited nutrition assistance programs, and gutted conservation support for farmers while failing to increase investment in beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers.
Thousands of PAN’s supporters across the country voiced their opposition to the bill and urged their Representatives not to support it; the final tally was 198 in favor and 213 opposed. Despite the possibility of another vote if the backroom deal over immigration is successful, PAN joins our partners in celebrating the fact that Congress chose to say “no” to a flawed Farm Bill.
Here’s the response to Friday’s vote from PAN’s Executive Director, Kristin Schafer:
The opposition to this Farm Bill was so wide and deep that in the end, Congress could not ignore it. We hope lawmakers will take this opportunity to go back to the drawing board and create a Farm Bill that encourages sustainable on-farm innovation and strengthens — rather than rolls back — pesticide protections for workers, rural communities, and pollinators.
Moving forward, we’ll press for a Farm Bill that centers efforts to build healthy communities and fair farm economies, strengthens worker justice and grows a food and agriculture system that works for us into the future.