Background: Negotiations between House and Senate Conferees have now begun on the Farm Bill. There are distinct differences between the House and Senate versions of the Farm Bill, (H.R. 2646/S. 1731). The Conferees have been determined and their goal is to complete their work by the Easter Recess (March 22).
Key Rural Community Support Provisions:
Urge Conferees to:
Target Federal spending to rural America through micro-enterprise programs.
Develop programs for beginning farmers and ranchers.
Support limiting farm payments and targeting them to family farms, limit the amount to any single farm operation.
Support farmers who are responsible stewards of their land.
Key Food Issues in the Farm Bill Conference Committee:
Urge Conferees to:
Support the Senate nutrition title funding level at $8.9 billion.
Restore Eligibility for Food Stamps to Legal Immigrants. The Senate bill does this (the House version doesn't even mention this), however, last minute language in the Senate bill has been added that would deny eligibility to anyone who had been in the country at any time without legal status for 12 months, regardless of their current status. Accept the full range of Senate restorations but strike the prior status question.
Adopt the strongest package of food stamp program improvements from both House and Senate bills, such as increasing the standard deduction, phasing out the shelter deduction cap, easing the strict limits on childless adults, and providing transitional benefits for those leaving TANF.
Action Needed Now: Call the House and Senate members of the Farm Bill Conference Committee NOW and urge them to support these issues. If your Representative or Senators are not conferees, call NOW and urge them to weigh in with their colleagues on the Conference Committee.
Senate Conferees: Chairman Harkin (D-IA), Daschle (D-SD), Leahy (D-VT), Conrad (D-ND), Lugar (R-IN), Helms (R-NC) and Cochran (R-MS)
House Conferees: Chairman Combest (R-TX), Goodlatte (R-VA), Boehner (R-OH), Pombo (R-CA), Everett (R-AL), Lucas (R-OK), Chambliss (R-GA), Moran (R-KS), Stenholm (D-TX), Clayton (D-NC), Condit (D-CA), Peterson (D-MN), Dooley (D-CA), Holden (D-PA).
The Speaker of the House has also appointed additional Conferees (three from each Committee) who will periodically join the negotiations and vote on provisions under their respective jurisdictions.
Committee on Ways & Means: Chairman Thomas (R-CA), Herger (R-CA), Rangel (D-NY).
Committee on Science: Chairman Boehlert (R-NY), Bartlett (R-MD), Hall (D-TX).
Committee on Resources: Chairman Chairman Hansen (R-UT), Young (R-AK), Kind (D-WI).
Committee on Judiciary: Chairman Chairman Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Green (R-WI), Baldwin (R-WI).
Committee on Int'l Relations: Chairman Hyde (R-IL), Smith (R-NJ), Lantos (D-CA).
Committee on Financial Services: Chairman Oxley (R-OH), Bachus (R-AL), LaFalce (D-NY).
Committee on Energy/Commerce: Chairman Tauzin (R-LA), Barton (R-TX), Dingell (D-MI).
Committee on Education: Castle (R-DE), Osborne (R-NE), Kildee (D-MI).
Committee on the Budget: Chairman Nussle (R-IA), Sununu (R-NH), Spratt (D-SC).
Call through the Capitol switchboard (202) 225-3121.
The U.S. Catholic bishops have consistently supported national policy to establish food security and combat hunger; to strengthen domestic food assistance programs to ensure that no one in America goes hungry or suffers malnutrition; and to create an agricultural/food system that promotes healthy communities, and local participation, allowing Americans and farm families everywhere to thrive abundantly. See Food Policy in a Hungry World .
For more information, contact Kathy Curran at 202-541-3188, firstname.lastname@example.org, or Andy Rivas at 202-541-3190, email@example.com.