Senate Passes Farm Bill

WASHNGTON, Feb. 4 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) today issued the following statement after he voted with the 68-32 majority to pass and send to President Barack Obama a new five-year farm bill:

“This was a difficult vote on a bill which has some positive provisions but also some very negative ones.

“This bill will bring greater stability to Vermont dairy farmers by helping them to manage risks and produce products more efficiently.  It also is good news that a successful MILC program will stay in place until new insurance provisions for dairy farmers are implemented.

“The bill encourages increased access to healthy, local foods and will build on a growing movement in Vermont which has created agriculture jobs and provided local food for Vermonters. Another provision helps low-income seniors shop at farmers’ markets and roadside stands that are popular across Vermont.

“I am very disappointed that this bill makes $8.6 billion in cuts over the next decade to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. While the final bill steps back from $40 billion in food stamp cuts that House Republicans had demanded, it is both morally and economically wrong to cut assistance to families in a very difficult economy.

“I am very pleased that Governor Shumlin has assured me that he will work with the Vermont Legislature to prevent cuts in food stamps for Vermont families and seniors receiving home heating assistance.”