McMorris Rodgers Supports Farm Bill, Opposes Tax Hikes

(Washington, D.C.)  Although supportive of farm policies included in the 2007 Farm Bill, Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers today voted against the bill due to the last-minute addition of a $7.5 billion tax increase. McMorris Rodgers remains supportive of funding and policies included in the legislation that are important for Eastern Washington and will continue working to produce a final bill that will help our farmers succeed.

“I am committed to working in a bipartisan fashion to help our Eastern Washington farmers and ranchers remain competitive,” said McMorris Rodgers. “However, I am disappointed that a change was made to this legislation that raises taxes. The tax increase will impact over 83,000 manufacturing jobs in Washington state. We shouldn’t have to choose between farmers or manufacturers. This is the first step in a long process to pass new Farm Bill legislation. We must come up with a bipartisan bill important to agriculture and rural communities without raising taxes.”

The tax increase violates numerous trade treaties, potentially causing retaliation and hurting Eastern Washington’s agriculture industry that is so trade dependent. In Washington state, 85 percent of wheat is exported, our apples are shipped to all 50 states and over 40 countries, dry peas and lentils are shipped to over 90 countries and we are the largest exporter of french fries.

“Last year I traveled to Eastern Washington at the request of Congresswoman McMorris Rodgers and heard from local farmers about their needs and concerns,” said Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Ranking Member on the House Agriculture Committee. “I have appreciated McMorris Rodgers’ work and attention to this Farm Bill. We have worked in a bipartisan fashion throughout this process and had the opportunity to take a bipartisan product of the Committee to the floor, but our work has been undermined by the addition of tax increases. It is a sad day for American agriculture when the Democratic Leadership pits America's farmers and ranchers against America's working class.”

McMorris Rodgers has worked closely with Washington wheat growers to fix the counter-cyclical program and provide them with intended safety nets. She recently introduced legislation with Congressman Larsen and Senator Murray to calculate counter-cyclical payments by class instead of the national average of wheat.

McMorris Rogers continues to support farm policies included in the 2007 Farm Bill such as:

  • Investments in specialty crops, such as apples, potatoes, red raspberries, and sweet cherries, by expanding research, encouraging consumption of fruits and vegetables, and providing trade assistance and promotion.
  • Rural development programs to assist rural health facilities in the area of health information technology.
  • Renewable energy provisions to continue the Bio-energy Program, which includes incentives for bio-diesel production and waste materials including animal manure, and livestock/food processing waste.
  • Expansion of the USDA Snack Program, which helps schools provide healthy snacks to students during after-school activities.

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