Washington, D.C. – Senator Ron Johnson (WI) has introduced a motion to split S. 3240 – the Agriculture, Reform, Food and Jobs Act – into two separate bills, with separate votes on each. The motion would send the bill back to the Agriculture Committee with instructions to break it into two bills: one that includes the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (‘food-stamps’) and another bill that includes the agriculture provisions. The Senate would vote separately on these two bills.
Johnson made the following statement to explain the rationale behind his motion to recommit:
“When Congress debates legislation to spend nearly $1 trillion, we need to be honest with the American people about what we’re doing. This isn’t a farm bill. It’s a welfare bill. Nearly 80% of the spending in this bill – a little under $800 billion – is for food stamps. We should be clear about how much we are spending and why we are spending it – and we ought to give Senators the opportunity for a straight up or down vote on two different proposals that have little in common.
“This bill is a great example of what’s wrong in Washington. Decades ago someone realized that combining food stamps and agriculture programs together in one bill is a great way to pass both with a minimum of debate and controversy. That’s the only reason these unrelated provisions are linked today.
“This is business as usual, and business as usual is bankrupting America. If Senators want to spend $800 billion on Food Stamps, or nearly $200 billion on farm programs, let them say so with a clean vote – rather than combining them into an all-or-nothing package that passes with a minimum of debate and scrutiny. My motion would not change any of the substance of this legislation, just call for two distinct votes.”