On the floor of the House of Representatives on Friday, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said that the New Direction Farm Bill is a precedent-setting agricultural aid and incentive bill which will set the stage for all such future bills being on a superior level from those of the past, and she urged the bill’s bipartisan supporters to vote it into a law to be presented before the President.
The new farm bill includes funding to increase the United States’ production of biofuels and renewable energy sources by 600%, a 30% raise in the amount of federal funds used to protect farmland and ranchland while cleaning up water supplies and environs, and a raise in the minimum food stamp benefit to prevent inflation from eroding needy families’ food purchasing power.
Additionally, it has cut out agricultural subsidies to farmers with net-worths in excess of $1 million and has allegedly closed some loopholes in the laws that permitted farm payment limits to be exceeded. Organic farming and efforts to increase the yield of fruits and vegetables are also federally financed by the bill.
The White House and dissenting Republican Congressmen have sharply criticized that “closing of the loophole” as a tax increase that will only further burden the American economy and might lead the President to veto the bill.
In order to finance the food-stamp and nutrition-program increases, the New Direction bill aims to raise approximately $4 billion in new revenues to be collected from foreign corporations. The tax loophole that supporters say is closed is one in which U.S. subsidiaries of foreign-owned companies have been allowed to shift their stated incomes to other nations which have lower tax rates.
“Members who focus on the substance of this farm bill — and not on red herrings — will see that this bill deserves their support. The tax loophole objection raised by the White House is no more than a desperate attempt at obstructionism. We must not let this disingenuous attack derail this bipartisan farm bill,” stated Pelosi in response.
Some researchers have recently stated that increasing the production of biofuels by the amounts that bills like this one seek can only have disastrous effects on the economy and the environment, citing calculations that show we don’t have enough land and too much of our food crop would be given over to producing energy for our vehicles instead of for our bodies. These recommend pursuing nuclear power development and implementing more use of natural gas and more efficient solar power technology.
The federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory has harshly criticized those dissenters.
Policy critics state that the United States needs to end farm subsidies altogether, calling them anti-capitalist and saying that if they were ended, American food prices would drop, Americans’ taxes would drop, environmental conservation objectives would be assessed and met far more cheaply through market forces, and foreign developing nations’ farmers would have a fair global marketplace and make more money, among other benefits.
“Energy independence is a national security issue, it is an environmental issue, and it is an economic issue for our nation and America’s families. Thanks to this farm bill, it will also be an economic solution for America’s farmers. It will create a rural renaissance that will re-energize farm country and create jobs in small towns across America,” said Pelosi.
Office of the Speaker of the House (PR Newswire), “Landmark Farm Bill Ensures Future Farm Bills Will Never Again Look Like Those of the Past”