Debate Club

Should Congress Pass the Farm Bill?

Should Congress Pass the Farm Bill?

A five-year, $500 billion bill that supports various agriculture and nutrition programs is stuck in the House as lawmakers debate how much to cut from food stamps, farm subsidies, and other aspects of the typically bipartisan bill. A similar bill passed by the Democrat-led Senate would cut $4.5 billion from food stamps, trimming $23.6 billion overall over the next 10 years. Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Committee has pushed forward legislation that would cut $16.5 billion from nutrition programs, which House Democrats say is far too steep and conservative Tea Party Republicans insist is not enough. The logjam had kept the measure from being brought to a vote on the House floor.

With drought plaguing much of America's farmlands, agricultural groups are growing increasingly frustrated with the congressional stalemate over the bill, the current version of which expires September 30. A short-term extension was passed before the August recess, and House members are considering another one-year extension if they are unable to break the impasse. Senate leaders are pressuring the House to pass a long-term bill before the September session is up, so October could be spent reconciling the two bills, and a final version could be passed in November, after Election Day. Should Congress pass the farm bill? Here is the Debate Club's take:


The Arguments

#1
155 Pts
House Farm Bill Cuts Off the Pathway to the Middle Class

No – House Farm Bill Cuts Off the Pathway to the Middle Class

Melissa Boteach Director of the Poverty and Prosperity Program for Center for American Progress

#2
147 Pts
House Farm Bill Ignores Reality of Current Economy

No – House Farm Bill Ignores Reality of Current Economy

Jim Weill President of the Food Research and Action Center

#3
25 Pts
Don't Let the Farm Bill Be a Casualty of Political Silly Season

Yes – Don't Let the Farm Bill Be a Casualty of Political Silly Season

Roger Johnson President of the National Farmers Union

#4
16 Pts
Rep. Boswell: We Need the Farm Bill to Stabilize Food Costs

Yes – Rep. Boswell: We Need the Farm Bill to Stabilize Food Costs

Leonard Boswell Democratic U.S. Representative from Iowa

#5
7 Pts
Farm Bill's Agriculture Subsidies Must Be Dismantled

No – Farm Bill's Agriculture Subsidies Must Be Dismantled

Nan Swift Federal Government Affairs Manager at the National Taxpayers Union

#6
-4 Pts
Rich Farmers Don't Need Farm Bill's Welfare

No – Rich Farmers Don't Need Farm Bill's Welfare

Vince Smith Codirector of Montana State University’s Agricultural Marketing Policy Center


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