May 28, 2013

Recent Amendments to the 2013 Farm Bill Should Terrify Consumers

Everyone needs to contact their Senators to stop the Vitter Amendment from getting into the final Senate Farm Bill.
5-28-2013 Washington DC:

As the Senate's Memorial Day vacation continues this week, Senators will have some serious thinking to do while enjoying the sun in their home districts. When the chamber returns to work on June 3rd, they will resume consideration of the 2013 Farm Bill, a piece of legislation that already has a drastically different feel from the last Farm Bill passed in 2008. Here's a breakdown of some of the newly passed amendments to the bill that will have the most controversial effect:
---For starters, the Senate rejected an amendment that would simply allow states the right to pass local legislation requiring genetically modified foods to be labeled as such. A seemingly common sense amendment, especially considering we do not yet know the effects these food have on human health in the long term. This rejection just screams of special corporate interests taking precedent over public health.

---Speaking of corporate interests, the so called Monsanto Protect Act has been approved as part of the bill, despite widespread public outcry. This piece of the legislation would allow companies like Monsanto that sell genetically modified seeds to continue business as usual even if the Department of Agriculture proves the seeds to be unsafe for human consumption. This comes just weeks after the Supreme Court sided with Monsanto in a patent protection case, forbidding farmers from saving Monsanto seeds to replant every season.

---The Senate has made clear its intentions to whittle down the food stamp program, but a recently passed amendment introduced by Senator David Vitter takes things to the extreme. If the bill passes, this amendment would ban anyone who has ever been convicted of a violent crime from receiving food stamp benefits for life. It would also drastically lower benefits for family members of the offender. This amendment would disproportionately effect the African American community, not to mention undermining the idea of rehabilitation within the criminal justice system.
As the Senate finishes up approving amendments for the 2013 Farm Bill in preparation of a floor vote at the end of June, it's important for Americans to keep an eye on where exactly their money is going in this legislation. Already the current bill tops off at costing the tax payer $1 trillion, a steep increase from the $650 billion price tag for the 2008 Farm Bill. Furthermore, many members of Congress with strong ties to the agricultural industry will actually personally be receiving subsidies. For example, Representative Stephen Fincher of Tennessee, pocketed $3.5 million in subsidies from 1999 to 2012. ..Source.. by Tess VandenDolder

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