February 04, 2014

Manchin Announces Bipartisan Passage of Farm Bill

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today supported the bipartisan passage of the Agricultural Act of 2014, which reforms the country’s agriculture policy while also reducing the deficit by $23 billion and supporting 16 million jobs. In addition, the bill contains an amendment Senator Manchin sponsored to help young children and pregnant women develop healthy eating habits. The bill passed by a vote of 68-32.

Senator Manchin supported the bill after ensuring programs critical to West Virginia communities would be protected, including the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program and The Emergency Food and Assistance Program (TEFAP). West Virginia counties with abundant federal lands rely on PILT funding for firefighter and police protection, construction of public schools and roads, and search-and-rescue operations. TEFAP funding provides the necessary resources for food banks across the state to distribute meals to families in need. 

“After three years, I am pleased that members of Congress could finally come together to pass this tremendously important legislation,” said Senator Manchin. “This bill will reform agricultural programs and save taxpayer dollars by ending direct payments and consolidating any outdated or duplicative programs. It will also cut waste, fraud and abuse in our agriculture system and help us reduce the United States’ deficit while protecting critical food assistance to West Virginia families in need.

“I am very proud that my amendment has been adopted in this bill. We are one step closer to making sure that we have nutrition standards for pregnant women and children ages zero to two, which do not currently exist. This amendment will help keep our kids healthy and strong, and take preventive steps toward ending obesity and childhood illnesses as our kids grow older.”

Farm Bill Background:

1. Senator Manchin’s amendment, co-sponsored by Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), would require the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop, implement and promote national dietary guidelines for pregnant women and children between the ages zero and 2 years of age. No such standards exist currently.

2. On January 16, 2014, Senator Manchin wrote a letter to the Farm Bill Conferees asking that the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program be included in the Farm Bill.

3. On November 11, 2013, Senator Manchin signed a letter to the Farm Bill Conferees requesting increased funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) in the Farm Bill.

4. On July 25, 2013, Senator Manchin cosponsored the bipartisan Silviculture Regulatory Consistency Act, which supports a long-standing EPA policy that does not require water discharge permits for forest road activity. Even though this rule has been upheld by the Supreme Court, lawsuits have continued to unnecessarily delay forestry work. Therefore, this bill reassures permits are not needed to move forward with forestry projects.