Posted by Katie on November 23, 2011
Super Committee Fails, Secret Farm Bill Dies, House and Senate Ag Leaders Afraid of Releasing “Statutory Language” of their Secret Farm Bill – Food Democracy Now! Members Rock the Hill, Shut Down Phone Lines
It's that time of year and we wanted to thank you for inspiring us by your willingness to take action for a better world, for the farmers who work hard to grow our food and for the farm and food workers who pick, process, deliver and cook the food we eat everyday. Here at Food Democracy Now! we wanted to wish every one an incredible Thanksgiving and leave you with some news to chew on in the days ahead.
Today the 12 members of the Congressional Super Committee were supposed to vote on budget cuts, but ultimately their talks failed and the Secret Farm Bill died along with it.
Even as the budget deficit negotiations collapsed in failure, longtime political veterans were stunned by the nearly unanimous bipartisan agreement of the House and Senate agriculture committee leadership in crafting $23 billion in budget cuts to U.S. food and agricultural programs behind closed doors in total secrecy.
Despite having promised to announce the details of the farm bill budget negotiations publicly multiple times, the leaders have still failed to release the official details of their secret deal. While originally to be announced by November 1st, a flood of more than 70,000 phone calls by Food Democracy Now! members over a three week period crashed the Congressional ag leaders phone lines repeatedly and ultimately forced their secret deal with agribusiness lobbyists to be hidden from the public.
Recently Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) notified the press that she would not make the final negotiations public, despite a 16-page summary document on the process leaking from her office on Friday. Apparently, the Chairwoman’s secretive nature has not sat well with many other members of the agricultural committee as repeated phone calls to Food Democracy Now! from Congressional staff have confirmed.
Even worse, joining the chorus of complaints was fellow Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), the Ranking Member of the Senate Ag committee who participated in the backroom negotiations, but was clearly upset by some of the Secret Farm Bill’s tawdry process.
In a press statement, Roberts took a jab at Senator Stabenow’s leadership: “The last proposal was so ‘secret’ that I still have not seen final legislative language and scores,” Roberts complained.
Apparently at least one Senator had some sense shaken into him by the more than 70,000 phone calls that were ultimately placed to Congressional leaders over a three week period by farmers and citizens who were outraged over this backdoor process and spurred to action by Food Democracy Now!
“This budget negotiation process happened during work hours and on the taxpayer dime and if we’re going to have to pay for Congressional salaries and retirement plans, we might as well get a look at the schemes these public servants cooked up behind closed doors,” said Murphy.
“It’s one thing to write a major piece of legislation in total secrecy, but it’s another thing to refuse to release the final bill to the American public after announcing on multiple occasions that they would do so,” Murphy said.
The real question is what are these members of Congress and their corporate masters afraid of? Don’t the American people have a right to know?
If you have any solid tips or an extra copy of the statutory language from Stabenow/ Lucas Secret Farm Bill, please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org before you finish the last of those seconds at the Thanksgiving Day table!
Wishing everyone a Sustainable Thanksgiving!, even you rascals in Congress. You better rest up while you can, cause Food Democracy Now! will be coming for you during the newly alive 2012 Farm Bill!
Thanks for being a part of the solution and participating in food democracy,
Dave, Lisa and the Food Democracy Now! Team