Stopping time in a subcommittee

The big — and disappointing — Food and Farm Bill news this week is that the Subcommittee on General Farm Commodities and Risk Management blocked subsidy reform by unanimously voting against every single reform proposals and in favor, 18-0, of extending the 2002 commodity programs. Yesterday’s Digest had a few links to responses from various parties. Brownfield has a short interview with Rep. Kind (D-WI), one of the main proponents of subsidy reform in the House. Today’s newsletter has a round-up of overnight reporting on the subcommittee’s time-freeze action.

Here’s a list of the members of the subcommittee, with links to their House websites. If you live in one of their districts, it would be worthwhile to contact their office so they can hear what the “general public” thinks about current subsidy programs. We can be sure that Farm Bureaus, Archer Daniels-Midland, ConAgra, and other groups are besieging their offices with lobbyists. The subcommittee vote won’t be repeated, but the full committee hearings and debate on the House floor are still to come, so a groundswell of public opinion could soften their opposition to reform proposals in the next stages of the Food and Farm Bill epic battle.

Democrats Republicans

The map of the contiguous 48 states below (created using Texas A&M’s map-maker utility) shows the states represented by the subcommittee members. Blue states are for Democrats, red states for Republicans, and the purple state has a member of each party. Note that two of the Democrats are from Georgia and two of the Republicans are from Texas.

Home states of subsidy subcommittee

If you want to delve deeper, EWG’s Mulch blog has details on subsidies paid to each of the subcommittee members’ district, and Tom Philpott’s Victual Reality column for Grist today offers a balanced counterpoint to the commodity-subsidy discussion, warning us of the fallacy of blaming farmers for the subsidy mess.

2 Responsesto “Stopping time in a subcommittee”

  1. Wendy says:

    So my question is, is it any use at all for those of us who are not their constituents to get in touch with them?

  2. Wendy — it is my understanding that writing to members of Congress who don’t represent you has little impact. One expert in lobbying that I know suggested writing to your Representative and cc’ing the letter to one of the Subcommittee members, perhaps Chairman Etheridge. There aren’t enough members on the Ag Committees to pass a bill in either house, so all of the other Representatives and Senators have quite a bit of importance here. Your letter to your non-Ag Committee Representative might convince him or her to push the Ag Committee members for a better Food and Farm Bill.