U.S. Representative Doug LaMalfa, R-Calif., voted for the 2013 farm bill during a hearing of the House Agriculture Committee, starting the first step on the path toward possible comprehensive reform of agricultural regulations.
If passed, House Resolution 1947 eliminates direct subsidy payments, modernizes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, institutes new fraud prevention measures and reduces spending by $40 billion, according to a news release issued by LaMalfa’s office.
“I’m proud that the committee worked together and produced a bipartisan bill that achieves many of the goals I set out when appointed to this committee,” said LaMalfa, who owns a rice farm in Richvale and who pointed to agricultural reform as a major plank of his platform during the November general election. “The legislation eliminates direct subsidy payments, updates our food stamp program and saves nearly $40 billion.”
LaMalfa, who was criticized during the campaign season for accepting farm subsidies that seemed to contradict his conservative stance, said he was only playing by the rules established for farmers. He pledged that if elected, he would seek to alter those rules.
“This bill moves our agricultural economy into the 21st century and has a positive impact on farmers, consumers and the federal budget,” LaMalfa said in Thursday’s release.
LaMalfa also passed an amendment to the federal farm bill that requires electronic fraud prevention measures relating to the federal food stamp program and eliminates bonus pay for signing up new recipients.
“The success of the food stamp program should be measured by how many Americans become self-sufficient, not how many are added to the rolls,” LaMalfa said. “Every dollar spent on bonuses is a dollar that doesn’t reach the families who need our help. Modernizing the program to ensure that assistance goes only to those who need it means that we can spend less while continuing to help our friends and neighbors.”
The measure is expected to be debated on the house floor in June.