Walz Statement on Partisan Farm Bill
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Tim Walz (MN-01) released the following statement after voting against the partisan Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018 (H.R. 2) before the House Committee on Agriculture:
“I represent the ninth largest agricultural-producing district in the nation. I came to Congress in part to help write Farm Bills. I came to Congress to try and get policy right. I came to work together with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle. What Republicans did today – namely, bringing an ideological bill up for consideration that lacked bipartisan support, failed to go through the regular committee process, and abandoned our farmers, consumers, veterans and children in the process – is not how this committee has normally functioned. It is not how this committee is supposed to function. It is not how a democracy is supposed to function.
“Instead of supporting farmers’ conservation efforts by enhancing programs like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) as my SOIL Stewardship Act would do, Republicans voted to cut working lands programs and eliminate CSP. Instead of investing in our small town businesses and rural communities, Republicans voted to eliminate the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP). Instead of doing all they can to help facilitate the transfer of skills, knowledge and land between current and future generations of producers as my Beginning Farmer and Rancher Opportunity Act would do, Republicans failed to scale up and permanently reauthorize the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. Perhaps most indefensibly, instead of strengthening and making commonsense improvements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – the most effective anti-hunger program in U.S. history and a source of economic vitality in southern Minnesota – Republicans voted to risk creating barriers to access for veterans and children who rely on the program, which helps keep 16,000 veterans from going to bed hungry in Minnesota alone.
“This committee used to set an example for how things are supposed to be done in Washington. Today, Republicans chose to follow the lead of Speaker Ryan and steamrolled the bipartisan process we once championed. Still, I believe this committee has the capacity to change how things are done in Washington, but if Republicans don’t set aside their ideological differences, reject the outside influence of powerful political donors, and work together with Democrats on areas where we agree, it will do nothing more than propel the toxic culture in Congress.
“Folks back home in the First District are fed up with the hyper-partisanship in D.C. What they want is for us to work together to get things done, and I’ve tried to live up to this reasonable expectation every single day. At such a critical time in our democracy, I ask Chairman Conaway and the rest of my Republican colleagues on the House Committee on Agriculture to consider this as we move forward: if we don’t fix the problem of partisanship plaguing Washington, who will?”