Nelson and Rubio split votes on farm bill
The U.S. Senate passed a sweeping farm bill this afternoon, sending it to President Obama for his signature.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson voted yes. Sen. Marco Rubio voted no.
Nelson touted $125 million in research funds for citrus disease, a severe threat to an iconic part of Florida's agriculture economy. Florida House Republicans also pointed to the money.
Rubio argued that the bill "goes far beyond agricultural programs and includes anti-poverty programs and renewable energy programs, among other spending measures that total nearly $1 trillion." His full statement below: Rubio statement:
Today, I voted no on the Agricultural Act of 2014, also known as the Farm Bill.
Florida’s economy and the livelihoods of many family-owned businesses and workers rely on a vibrant agricultural industry. Unfortunately, this farm bill goes far beyond agricultural programs and includes anti-poverty programs and renewable energy programs, among other spending measures that total nearly $1 trillion.
With Washington facing a $17 trillion debt and another debt ceiling increase in a few weeks, this bill does not undertake any fundamental reforms to ensure every taxpayer dollar is being properly spent to secure our nation’s food supply instead of needlessly growing government or continuing the status quo on programs that need reform.
For example, food stamp programs are an important part of our safety net, but we should have a separate debate on these and other anti-poverty programs with the goal of empowering states to better design these programs to help their people escape poverty.
And while energy innovation is an important debate and will be a key economic growth driver in the 21st century, we should be discussing renewable energy and biofuels programs in the context of energy policy, not lumping them in to this bill that’s supposed to be about securing our nation’s food supply.