By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congresswoman Martha Roby (R) from Montgomery issued a written statement to applaud Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions (R) and Richard Shelby (R) for their votes against the Senate Farm Bill. U.S. Representative Roby said, “I applaud Senator Shelby and Senator Sessions for voting against the food stamp-heavy Senate Farm Bill. They were right to oppose a bill that allows so much waste and fraud to continue unabated. While not perfect, the House version of the Farm Bill makes significant reforms to the food stamp program and contains $20 billion worth of cuts – five times the amount cut in the Senate version.”
Sen Sessions said in a written statement, “I find it deeply concerning that the Senate farm bill lacks reforms to the food stamp program—food stamps now make up 80 percent of the spending in the farm bill—while instead making substantial cuts to the provisions for our farmers, which make up less than 20 percent of the bill.”
The conservative Congresswoman continued, “Agriculture is the top industry in Alabama’s Second Congressional District, and I understand the need to pass a long-term Farm Bill to provide our farmers the certainty they deserve. However, we must ensure the bill contains the kind of reforms and cuts that show Congress is serious about changing the culture of spending and government dependence.”
Rep. Roby said that the House version of the Farm Bill, officially known as the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2013 saves American taxpayers more than $40 billion, half of which comes from the food stamp program. The House bill also repeals or consolidates more than 100 government programs and ends direct payments to farmers.
Rep. Roby is a Member of the House Committee on Agriculture. She able too include two provisions in the new Farm Bill: A provision that prevents illegal immigrants from obtaining federally subsidized food stamps and a provision that reduces the amount of land allowed into the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and prevents landowners from being paid to let fertile cropland go unplanted for years.
The Senate Farm Bill passed on Monday night and only cuts $400 million a year from food stamps. It also would not prevent illegal immigrants from receiving the taxpayer subsidized food stamp benefits. The House will take up this issue in coming weeks. The farm bill was supposed to be renewed last year, but major divisions between the two parties (each of which control a House of Congress) prevented any agreement from being passed by both houses.
Congresswoman Roby represents Alabama’s Second Congressional District. She is serving in her second term in the U.S. House of Representatives.