Thornberry Votes NO - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Thornberry Votes NO

Republican Congressman Mac Thornberry voted against the 2007 Farm Bill that passed through Congress last Friday. The vote was 231-191.

He says that he supported the bill when it originally came out of the Agriculture Committee, but Speaker Pelosi added "partisan agenda items" to the bill.

"There were a number of things that were just laid on top of what had overwhelming bipartisan support. Those extra things, taxes and the rest, resulted in a very close vote, and it means it'll never become law like this," says Thornberry

Thornberry doesn't think the law will make it through Senate.

"I dont think we'll see anything immediately, because this bill will never become law. And so, the likelihood is that there will not be a farm bill passed this year. We will have to pass some sort of extension of the existing farm bill."

The last Farm Bill passed in 2002; these bills generally last five years.

NewsChannel 10 spoke with Congressman Thornberry to get his reasons for not approving the bill.

 

Here's a list from his office of pros and cons to the bill:

From the Office of Mac Thornberry:

Objections to PARTISAN additions to Farm Bill Thornberry opposes:

*Over $10 billion of tax increases

* Including new taxes (over $6 billion) on domestic energy production that will drive up the cost of fuel and fertilizer for farmers and for all of us.

* Make a foreign aid program into a mandatory entitlement with automatic spending.

* Provision that would make it impossible for Texas to administer our Food Stamp program

* Provision that overrides Texas law by saying only union labor can be used to build ethanol plants.

Overview of BIPARTISAN Farm Bill provisions Congressman Thornberry supports:

* Kept producer and production agriculture programs similar to existing 2002 Farm Bill

* Increased funding for food banks

* Compromise language that would allow country-of-origin labeling for meat products to take full effect next year. 

* Authorizes the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), clarifying forest land as eligible for the program, and provides $8.6 billion over five years. EQIP offers financial and technical help to assist farmers install or implement structural and management practices on eligible agricultural land

* Reauthorizes the Healthy Forests Reserve Program and provides $17 million a year for five years. This is a voluntary working forest program where participants agree to conserve and manage endangered species habitat and in exchange, they are protected from additional regulatory burdens.

* Establishes a new program, the Emergency Forest Restoration Program, to assist private forest owners with restoration following disasters such as Gypsy Moth infestations, hurricanes and wildfires.

* $100 million was authorized for the Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP).  TEFAP provides food to states for distribution to needy families.  Most of the food distribution is accomplished through food banks and soup kitchens.  TEFAP provides food and nutrition services to those who need it by directly placing the goods into the hands of its recipients. 

* Authorizes $995 million for the Farmland Protection Program, which provides matching funds to help purchase development rights to keep productive farm and ranchland in agricultural uses.

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