House Passes 2007 Farm Bill - Includes Funds for Chesapeake Bay Clean Up
May 14, 2008
The House of Representatives passed a version of the farm bill yesterday that would double the federal government's funding for cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay, adding about $440 million over five years, congressional officials said.
The $290 billion farm bill, which covers items that include crop subsidies, school lunches and ethanol, needs approval from the U.S. Senate. President Bush has threatened to veto the bill, saying that it pays out too much to farmers in a time of very high food prices, but the bill's backers say they might have the votes to override the veto.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-VA-06
Our 6th District Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), voted in support of the bill. The results of from entire House vote and all of the Virginia representatives are shown below.
110th Congress: House Vote #315 (May 14, 2008)
H.R. 2419: Food and Energy Security Act of 2007 (Vote On Passage)
Ayes: 318 (73%) == 218 Dem / 100 Repb / 0 Indep
Nays: 106 (24 %) == 15 Dem / 91 Repb / 0 Indep
No Vote: 10 (2%) == 2 Dem / 8 Repb / 0 Indep
Aye VA-1 Wittman, Robert [R]
Aye VA-2 Drake, Thelma [R]
Aye VA-3 Scott, Robert [D]
Aye VA-4 Forbes, James [R]
Nay VA-5 Goode, Virgil [R]
Aye VA-6 Goodlatte, Robert [R]
Nay VA-7 Cantor, Eric [R]
Aye VA-8 Moran, James [D]
Aye VA-9 Boucher, Frederick [D]
Nay VA-10 Wolf, Frank [R]
Nay VA-11 Davis, Thomas [R]
The cost breakdown of the 2007 Farm Bill
Looks like it’s “Veto-proof” - by a vote of 318 to 106
… new five-year farm bill [passed] by a vote of 318 to 106, a margin large enough to override President Bush's promised veto of the nearly $300 billion measure.
The bipartisan show of support came after intense lobbying by a coalition that included farm groups, anti-hunger advocates, environmental organizations and the biofuels industry. While continuing traditional farm subsidy programs, the bill increases spending on nutrition programs such as food stamps by $10.4 billion.
Congressional backers were elated by the 3 to 1 vote ratio. "After this vote, it's pretty much clear that we can override," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.).
Chesapeake Bay clean-up funding …
No Go One Year Ago?
Last year this is what Mr. Goodlatte had to say about the Chesapeake Bay clean-up funding proposed to be included in 2007 Farm Bill:
see previous post - Goodlatte & Shenandoah Valley Water Quality
U.S. Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-6th, says the measure has the backing of several members in both the House and Senate. But the conservation plan known as Chesapeake’s Healthy and Environmentally Sound Stewardship of Energy and Agriculture Act of 2007, or CHESSEA, is too costly and lacks the broad support it needs to pass as part of the 2007 Farm Bill, Goodlatte said.
"Unfortunately, [CHESSEA] is extra expensive," said Goodlatte, who does not support the proposal. "The last time I looked at that bill, not a single member of Congress outside the Bay region had co-sponsored it."
DNRonline.com May 2007
What a difference a year makes...
"We're playing major catch-up," trying to clean the bay's waters after years of pollution, said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). "But what this does is provide a historic boost in federal funding."
The idea for an increase in federal spending was floated last spring by a coalition of legislators from around the bay watershed. More than a year later, they haven't received as much as they asked for, getting about $88 million a year in new money instead of $200 million. But legislators said that the bill would fund several programs aimed at farms, which are the source of more than 40 percent of two of the bay's most pernicious contaminants.
Van Hollen said one program, getting $188 million over five years, would focus on Chesapeake tributaries. It would pay for measures that keep pollution from running off the land and into creeks and streams. These measures might include "cover crops" planted to keep soil in place, or forested buffer zones that would serve as natural filters along rivers.
He said the bill would also increase funding for several nationwide programs that would help the Chesapeake region, among others. These include programs to conserve wetlands and plant forested buffers near farm fields.
"It's not going to give us a perfectly clean bay," said Doug Siglin of the nonprofit Chesapeake Bay Foundation. "But it's a great step in that direction."
Candidate Sam Rasoul, D-VA-06
Sam Rasoul video
Some Competition this year...
An 8-term, predictable “Rank & File” Republican, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, is known for not straying far from the Red Team flock. He is apparently feeling the heat from Sam Rasoul’s strong, grass-roots, populist campaign over the last year. Mr. Rasoul’s appeal to small business people and family farmers, is gaining traction in this major Agriculture region, a highly-productive farm belt that spans the Shenandoah Valley, from Front Royal to Roanoke. Pressure from a diverse cadre of regional environmental groups, farmers needing help to deal with NPS water pollution, and the deep-pocket Ag PAC / Bio-fuel lobbyists, have created “a perfect storm”, spooking Goodlatte to bolt from the Republican flock on this vote. This action will likely bring him some unfavorable blowback from his side of the aisle.
He’s caught between the proverbial “Red” Rock and a Hard Place (6th D voters).
His record of voting for the Red Team Party Line, over the common interests of the voters in the 6th District – will see much more scrutiny in the months ahead.
Nothing like an unpopular President, with a large “lame duckiness” rating, and voter unrest at home, to focus a politico’s mind on cooperation and results.