BLOOMINGTON, Ill. — Illinois corn farmers oppose the current
proposal to decouple the farm bill and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance
House leadership, under mounting pressure, is considering
two separate bills to deal with those issues instead of the traditional farm
Although all congressmen should be concerned with food
security and the opportunities to guarantee food for all Americans, many
lawmakers don’t understand the link between farm programs and how they directly
impact their urban constituents, according to Paul Taylor, president of the
Illinois Corn Growers Association.
“What we saw happen in the House really has less to do with
the legislation and more to do with the dysfunction of the House of
Representatives itself,” Taylor said. “Historically, the farm bill represented
an opportunity for urban and rural, Republican and Democrat, to work together
and give and take their way to a final bill that worked for all Americans. In
the current political environment, compromise is not valued. Therefore, we are
left without workable farm policy or nutrition program reform.”
“This farm bill should be going down in history as a forward
thinking, budget-minded bill that supports all Americans. Instead, it will be
remembered as one of the biggest debacles ever in the history of the U.S. House
of Representatives,” he said.
A farm bill has not failed to pass since sometime in the
1930s. Further, for the speaker of the House to vote for a bill that fails on
the floor is a considerably uncommon event, Taylor said.
“What most people fail to consider in this discussion is
that the SNAP and crop insurance are permanent law,” he said. “Those programs
persist without any reform from the House or Senate. Failure to compromise
actually results in a win for the status quo. The only option that is worse for
Americans is not passing anything at all.”
Splitting the bill would likely fail both options, according
to many experts.
“There is a reason why the two have been coupled and
remained coupled for years,” said Taylor, who added that the ICGA will continue
to work with the Illinois delegation to ensure that these programs remain
coupled and a meaningful bill passed in 2013.