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AL lawmakers, groups react to Farm Bill passage

Published: Jun. 21, 2018 at 8:10 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 22, 2018 at 10:20 AM CDT
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Following Congress's passage of the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018, commonly known as the Farm Bill, officials and organizations across Alabama have issued reaction statements:

Rep. Martha Roby, R-AL 2nd District

"I am proud to serve Alabama's Second District where agriculture is the largest employer, responsible for more than 93,000 jobs and more than $11 billion in economic impact. I know how critically important it is that Congress deliver agriculture policy that actually works for farmers throughout Alabama and our country and makes their important work easier, not harder. I was glad to be a voice for Alabama's farmers throughout the process to ensure that our commodities receive fair treatment. This farm bill addresses many of the challenges farmers face daily, and that's why I was proud to cast my vote in favor of the legislation today."

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-AL 3rd District

"I was pleased today to see the Farm Bill finally pass the House of Representatives.  As the only member of the House Agriculture Committee from the State of Alabama, I know firsthand the Agriculture industry makes up over 40 percent of our state's economy and that our farmers and producers count on this legislation every five years.

"This year, the legislation will help people pull themselves out of the cycle of poverty because it makes meaningful reforms to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).  It helps to incentivize all able-bodied individuals to work part-time or receive free training they need to find a job. Keep in mind, this does not apply to children, the elderly, expectant mothers, disabled individuals or caretakers of children.

"This year, the Farm Bill also provides support for Land Grant universities like Auburn and Tuskegee.  It also helps our area because it will bring quality broadband service to rural areas - like much of East Alabama – where folks need the service the most.  The Farm Bill will be good for our area and I was glad to see it pass the House with my full support today."

Rep. Terri Sewell, D-AL 7th District

"No child deserves to go to bed hungry, but that is exactly what today's farm bill will do to countless children across the country by making drastic cuts to our food assistance programs. I voted against today's farm bill because SNAP is a proven pathway out of poverty for our most vulnerable families, and I believe that cutting that lifeline of support is cruel and short-sighted. In Alabama's 7th Congressional District, 60,000 households rely on SNAP to put food on the table. For farmers and grocers in our district, cuts to this program mean lost revenue and bad business. I urge Republicans to end their attack on our social safety net and work with Democrats to help working families build a better life."

Mitt Walker, director of the Alabama Farmers Federation's National Legislative Programs

"Passing the farm bill is a step forward in providing certainty and stability for American farmers in times of uncertain market and trade conditions."

Kimble Forrister, executive director of Arise Citizens' Policy Project

"The U.S. House just voted to make life harder for tens of thousands of Alabamians. The House Farm Bill would increase hunger and hardship across Alabama and across the country by undercutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program helps nearly 900,000 Alabamians afford groceries and lifts 195,000 of them out of poverty.

"SNAP plays an essential role in supporting Alabama's economy, improving public health and boosting rural communities. But the House bill would shift funding away from food assistance to a new, unworkable and underfunded employment and training system that would do little to help people actually find jobs. This move would take away or cut food assistance for millions of struggling Americans, including children, seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, low-wage workers, and people who lost their jobs.

"The Senate is pursuing a better approach, with a bipartisan Farm Bill that protects SNAP and makes meaningful investments in job training. We urge Senators Doug Jones and Richard Shelby to support the Senate bill and reject any harmful amendments that would cut SNAP for struggling Americans. We need a Farm Bill that supports our communities, strengthens food assistance and invests in comprehensive job training and education programs to give low-wage workers the opportunity to climb the economic ladder."

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