Tracy is one of the few candidates for Congress nationwide who know enough about the Farm Bill to comment on it. Tracy opposed the Farm Bill passed by the House of Representatives. Among her reasons, she cites:
The normally transparent, bipartisan markup of the Farm Bill was hijacked by the House Freedom Caucus and turned into an all-GOP proposal meant to cripple SNAP (the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as “food stamps”), derail immigration upon which our farmers depend, and undercut access to affordable health care.
More than 1 million people would have lost their SNAP. The SNAP provisions called for the establishment of punitive work requirements on recipients that would make states create costly, complicated, and unnecessary bureaucracies to monitor those requirements. Thousands of hard working families in NY-23 depend on this program to help feed their families.
The bill, as it was proposed, didn’t do enough to strengthen the Farm Bill safety net needed to address the serious price situation faced by dairy farmers in NY-23. Nor does it deal adequately with the general downturn in farm income nationally.
While funds for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative would be authorized at 2014 Farm Bill levels ($80 million), $25 million of those funds are earmarked for the citrus industry’s battle against citrus greening, thus significantly cutting support for the research needed by NY-23’s fruit, vegetable, and wine and grape growers. Growers in this congressional district, from the Finger Lakes to Lake Erie, strongly support public research efforts that can provide new technologies and solve diverse agricultural challenges.
The “Associated Health Plan” component of the proposed bill was also an attempt to undermine the Affordable Care Act―using farmers, who are already struggling, as its guinea pigs.
It is time for Congress to listen to family farmers and genuinely understand the grave challenges that so many face.
Why so few candidates in New York? There were some great candidates we endorsed in the New York primaries who unfortunately lost their races. And, we’re sure we missed some. If we did, please send us an email at info[at]citizensregenerationlobby.org.