Cites Lack of Reform to Food Stamp Program and Potential Harm to Poultry Industry as Reasons for “No” Vote
Washington, D.C. – Congressman Andy Harris, M.D., voted against legislation today that failed to reform the food stamp program and included farm provisions that harm the poultry industry on the Eastern Shore. The bill will spend about $950 billion over 10 years, with $756 billion going toward food stamps. The House previously passed two separate pieces of legislation—a freestanding farm bill and a separate food stamp bill. Congressman Harris supported that House farm bill, which included protection for the poultry industry, and he supported substantial reforms the House wanted to make to the food stamp program, including a work-training requirement for able-bodied adult recipients. The legislation today combined those two bills, but minimized important reforms to the food stamp program. The bill cut only $8 billion from the food stamp program, a far cry from the $39 billion cut the House had proposed, including the work requirement.
Congressman Harris released the following statement on his vote: “I support efforts to help our farmers, and I support safety-net nutrition programs for the hungry in America. Sadly, the combined farm and food stamp bill voted on today failed on both these measures. The farm component of the bill will harm the poultry industry so important to the economy on the Eastern Shore—an economy that is barely treading water in this ongoing recession. The food stamp program, which has grown 240 percent in only a dozen years, needed reforms that included work or work-training requirements for able-bodied adult recipients—but the final bill stripped out those requirements from the earlier House version. That's why I couldn't support today's bill, even though I voted for both the separate farm bill and the separate food stamp bill when they came to the House last summer and fall.”
The National Chicken Council and other agriculture groups opposed the final bill as well. Poultry remains a major economic strength of the Eastern Shore.