Public Health Institute Statement on U.S. Senate Passage of the Farm Bill
STATEMENT FROM MATTHEW MARSOM, VICE PRESIDENT, POLICY & ADVOCACY
Oakland, CA – “Today, the U.S. Senate passed the Agriculture Reform, Food, and Jobs Act (S. 3240) by a bipartisan vote of 64-35. The Public Health Institute (PHI) congratulates Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Stabenow (D-MI), Ranking Member Roberts (R-KS) and Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) for their leadership to advance this legislation in a bipartisan fashion. This marks an important step towards enacting a farm bill during 2012.
“The Senate farm bill adopts important policy and program improvements to promote healthy diets. The Senate wisely rejected structural changes and opposed deeper cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). We are pleased that the bill will continue to fully fund SNAP-Ed, a vital nutrition education program that promotes and improves healthy options for low-income children and families. This bill also provides important support for fruit and vegetable growers, promotes local agriculture, creates jobs and provides new opportunities to enhance low-income families’ access to nutritious foods.
“PHI is disappointed, however, that the Senate approved $4.5 billion in cuts that would reduce monthly nutrition benefits for 500,000 SNAP families by an average of $90 a month at a time of unprecedented need.
“Now, as the farm bill moves to the House of Representatives, PHI urges the House Agriculture Committee to adopt the nutrition program improvements to promote healthy diets included in the Senate Farm Bill, and to reject cuts to nutrition benefits that would compromise the health and well-being of vulnerable children and families who are struggling to make ends meet.
“PHI will continue to work with Congress and our partners in public health, nutrition, hunger and agriculture communities to protect and strengthen nutrition programs as the farm bill advances.”