WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-Channahon) today voted in support of legislation to reauthorize and modernize federal farm and nutrition programs for five years. The legislation reduces fraud and abuse in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), also known as food stamps, streamlines agriculture programs, and results in $23 billion in taxpayer savings.
"After working on this legislation for over three years, I am excited to see Congress finally get this done to give Illinois farmers the certainty and predictability they deserve," said Kinzinger. "This long overdue legislation will allow growers and producers to plan ahead and make smarter decisions about future harvests, giving them more control over their businesses. It strengthens our farm safety net, helping farmers protect against natural disasters, and represents a big step forward for getting things done in Washington."
The bill's passage comes after a recent meeting of a new Sixteenth District Agriculture Advisory Committee established by Kinzinger to serve as a forum for local farmers to weigh in on policy discussions that affect them. Members of the advisory committee include farmers from all 14 counties of the Sixteenth District.
"I appreciate those who worked to push the Farm Bill across the finish line," said Emily Pratt, a crop insurance agent from Dixon and member of the committee. "It contains commitments to improving water quality and land conservation, as well as enhancing the safety net for our farmers and ranchers. This is a win-win for our nation, not only because of the policy improvements, but also because of the savings to taxpayers."
"It's about time! We've been working on this for over two years, and it's great to see a Farm Bill finally get passed," said committee member Monty Whipple, a farmer and President of the La Salle County Farm Bureau. "This bill maintains the best of the old policies, while eliminating direct payments to help reduce our federal deficit. I'm thankful for those on both sides of the aisle who worked hard to get this done."
The five-year reauthorization bill is the result of a conference agreement recently reached between House and Senate members. The legislation repeals or consolidates over 100 programs at the Department of Agriculture while enhancing insurance programs that protect farmers against losses due to natural disasters. In addition, the legislation closes loopholes and reduces fraud in the SNAP program to save taxpayers $8 billion, marking the first reforms to SNAP since 1996. Overall, the legislation results in $23 billion in taxpayer savings over ten years.
The bipartisan bill passed the House today 251 to 166. It now moves to the Senate, where Senators are expected to vote on the legislation shortly. If passed by the Senate and signed by the President, the bill will be the first long-term reauthorization of federal farm policy since 2008.