WASHINGTON - JULY 26 - "Political expediency trumped ethical responsibility in tonight's House vote on the Fairness Amendment," said Rev. David Beckmann, President of Bread for the World. "But the pressure on Congress is only going to be stronger than ever as the Farm Bill moves to the Senate."
"Wealthy special interests can only plug the leaks in the dam for so long. It won't be long before the flood of constituents calling for a fair Farm Bill overwhelms the narrow financial interests of the select few.
"Real reform of the farm bill is inevitable. The political discussion about food and farm policy will never go back to where it was in 2002. The tide of opinion against the kind of bill passed in the House today has never been more powerful. The only question is how long it will take for our political leaders to catch up with the American people.
"Polls that we and other groups have released during the past two months show the public wants more equitable treatment for farmers and rural Americans of modest means and priority funding for programs that help hungry people. It's no surprise that in the past 19 months editorial boards in 34 states and Washington, DC have written nearly 200 opinions calling for an overhaul of U.S. food and farm policy.
"A lot of politicians had to hold their noses and check their Parties' fundamental values at the door of the Capitol Building when they sided with the Agriculture Committee's bill. Anybody who knows anything about the farm bill knows very well that this is not reform. This is simply the 2002 Farm Bill with additional money thrown in to secure the votes needed to pass it.
"The House vote is an unfortunate but temporary detour on the road toward the creation of a fair farm bill. We hope the Democratic leadership in the Senate will be bolder than their colleagues in the House have been on the farm bill."