WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Representative Mark Sanford released the following statement regarding his vote against the Farm Bill conference report:
“Today I voted against the Farm Bill conference report that came before the House because I’m concerned that it doesn’t go far enough in making changes that are necessary to protect taxpayers,” Sanford said. “Over the last few months of dealing with this bill, I’ve voiced my opposition to the new crop insurance program, the changes that need to be made to SNAP, the overall price tag, and other issues that taxpayers will be on the hook for. Unfortunately, the report agreed to by House and Senate negotiators didn’t resolve my concerns, and I’d offer three quick points to that effect.”
“First, the final price tag on this bill over the next ten years is $956 billion, and given what happened with the last farm bill, I think that number’s likely to go higher,” Sanford said. “This version already costs over 60% more than the 2008 bill, and programs in that version ended up costing more than what Congress originally authorized. I think it’s likely we’ll see something similar happen here.”
“Second, it doesn’t go far enough in making changes to the SNAP program. To start with, we were promised that SNAP would finally be separated from the unrelated topic of agriculture programs. The House even passed separate SNAP reform legislation, but here we find both topics once again recombined. Beyond that, this report only keeps about 20% of the savings from that SNAP reform bill,” Sanford continued. “Instead of $40 billion in substantial savings, we’ll only see about $8 billion as a result of this agreement.”
“Finally, while I’m encouraged that the direct payments program has ended, I’m concerned that the crop insurance program replacing it could end up costing even more,” Sanford added. “The program is set up so that if commodity prices drop, which they’re likely to do from their current historic highs, taxpayers could be on the hook for untold billions. Ultimately I think the cost of this bill is too high even without the risk to taxpayers that will come from a return to average historical commodity prices.”
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