Farm Bill Update: Lugar-Lautenberg and Dorgan-Grassley Fail Cloture Votes 4

Posted by Brad Johnson Thu, 13 Dec 2007 14:27:00 GMT

Two of the major farm bill (HR 2419/S 2302) amendments supported by reform advocates, the Lugar-Lautenberg subsidy overhaul (S 2228) and Dorgan-Grassley subsidy cap (S 1486), have both failed to achieve the sixty votes necessary to overcome Republican filibusters.

On Tuesday, Lugar-Lautenberg was soundly rejected by a vote of 37-58 (the five presidential candidates in the Senate did not vote).

This morning, the cloture vote to end debate on Dorgan-Grassley narrowly failed by a vote of 56-43.

Jimmy Carter Supports Farm Bill Reform Amendments 3

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 10 Dec 2007 22:12:00 GMT

In today’s Washington Post, former president Jimmy Carter penned the op-ed Subsidies’ Harvest Of Misery, throwing his support behind major reforms to the farm bill (H.R. 2419/S 2302/SA 3500), namely the Lugar-Lautenberg (S 2228/SA 3711) and Dorgan-Grassley (S.1486/SA 3508/SA 3786) amendments, saying “Both amendments would go a long way toward making the farm bill fair for farmers at home and abroad.”

Lugar-Lautenberg (the FRESH Act) is a broadly supported reform bill that would replace the current subsidy system with a yield-based insurance system. Dorgan-Grassley places a $250,000 annual cap on individual subsidies.

Carter cites the current state of farm subsidies:
It is embarrassing to note that, from 1995 to 2005, the richest 10 percent of cotton growers received more than 80 percent of total subsidies. The wealthiest 1 percent of American cotton farmers continues to receive over 25 percent of payouts for cotton, while more than half of America’s cotton farmers receive no subsidies at all. American farmers are not dependent on the global market because they are guaranteed a minimum selling price by the federal government. American producers of cotton received more than $18 billion in subsidies between 1999 and 2005, while market value of the cotton was $23 billion. That’s a subsidy of 86 percent!
He goes on to say that the fragile agrarian economies of third-world Africa are dependent on exports harmed by the domestic subsidies.