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Pioneer Valley has a champion at table for federal Farm Bill

Pelosi names McGovern to conference committee

  • Congressman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., has been named to the Farm Bill conference committee in Washington, D.C. Recorder file photo

Recorder Staff
Published: 7/19/2018 10:21:31 PM

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, D- Mass., has been named to serve on a conference committee to complete a five-year-long reauthorization of the Farm Bill.

McGovern, the ranking member of the House Rules Committee as well as of the Agriculture Committee’s Nutrition Subcommittee, was appointed Wednesday by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said, “With America’s farmers, producers and ranchers facing plummeting prices, rising retaliatory tariffs and a struggling farm economy, we need a real robust, bipartisan Farm Bill more than ever.”

She criticized House Republicans for advancing “a destructive and partisan bill that fails farmers and hungry families,” but said the 18 Democratic conferees “will bring the strength of their values and wide-ranging expertise to the work of hammering out a bipartisan Farm Bill that honors our responsibility to the men and women of agriculture and hungry families.”

Earlier this year, House Republicans passed, without a single Democratic vote, what McGovern’s office called a “partisan Farm Bill that included extreme cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. In doing so, they turned their back on a long history of bipartisanship as well as the economic security of millions of Americans.”

“Having him there is just really important,” Community Action Executive Director Clare Higgins said. “He’s the Number one defender of SNAP in the country and has never wavered for a moment in his commitment to see that people are not left hungry. SNAP is under attack in profound ways, so I’m really glad he’s at the table.”

McGovern said, “Farm bills are supposed to be an investment in our farms, our farmers, and the programs that help to feed hungry American families. Farm bills shouldn’t be about beating up on poor people, but the House Farm Bill significantly reduces and cuts benefits for millions of the most vulnerable in our country.”

“The House’s bill was drafted in secret and is not reflective of the 23 hearings that our committee held on SNAP over the past 2½ years. The only bipartisanship throughout the whole process was the bipartisan opposition to this awful bill,” he said. “In the Senate, the process couldn’t have been more different. Democratic ideas were heard and incorporated into the final text. SNAP benefit levels were maintained, and vulnerable families would continue to have access to modest food benefits when times are tough.

As the conference committee works to reconcile differences, McGovern added, “I will fight for a bill that — instead of hurting our most vulnerable citizens — works to end hunger now, helps our family farms, and supports rural communities.”

The District

McGovern’s district includes Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Leverett, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell, Whately, along with parts of Hampshire, Hampden, Norfolk, and Worcester counties.

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