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June 20, 2012

Re:  Federal Farm Bill Up in Senate
Look to Senators Menendez and Lautenberg for Support

Dear Mayor:

Late yesterday, the United States Senate began debating 73 amendments related to S. 3240, the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 (the Farm Bill).

Our voice in Washington, the National League of Cities (NLC) sent a letter to all Senators supporting the bill and took positions on seven amendments. The following three amendments would have the most impact on municipalities and are likely to have close votes. We urge you to contact Senators Menendez (202-224-4744) and Lautenberg (202-224-3224) on these issues. Please make these calls as soon as possible because the Senate is likely to consider these amendments today or tomorrow.

Gillibrand (SA 2156) SNAP Funding – SUPPORT

This bipartisan amendment restores $4.5 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, which provides assistance to low-income families and individuals to purchase food. The amendment also provides additional funding for the National School Lunch Program, which provides low-cost or free school lunches to qualified students, and the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, which makes fruit and vegetable snacks available at no cost to all children in participating schools.

DeMint (SA 2268) Rural Development Loan Guarantees – OPPOSE

This amendment eliminates the use of loan guarantees, which rural communities often use for rural development projects, including building essential community facilities for public safety, health care, and public services.

Brown (OH) (SA 2445) Rural Development Funding – SUPPORT

The Rural Development Title authorizes grants and loan programs targeted at leveraging local initiatives to spur growth and opportunity in rural areas. This amendment restores mandatory funding critical for rural development programs, including the addressing backlog of water and wastewater applications from local governments.

Udall (CO) (SA 2295) Healthy Forests – SUPPORT

This amendment increases the authorization for designating and treating forests that are experiencing declining health due to insect or disease infestation. For example, millions of acres of public and private land currently are being devastated by the mountain pine beetle, a native species whose natural population size and migration patterns have been altered by drought and warming temperatures, and are burrowing into and destroying a massive number of trees.

Wyden (SA 2388) Farm-to-School – SUPPORT

This amendment promotes the purchase of unprocessed and minimally processed, locally grown and locally raised agriculture products in schools by requiring the U.S. Department of Agriculture to conduct five state demonstration projects supporting farm-to-school efforts.

Klobuchar (SA 2299) Rural Transportation – SUPPORT

This amendment authorizes a joint study by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Transportation to examine transportation issues affecting the vitality and economic development of rural communities.

Toomey (SA 2247) Consumer Confidence Reports – SUPPORT (requires 60 votes to pass)

This bipartisan amendment will allow drinking water utilities to post their annual consumer confidence reports online when there have not been violations of maximum contaminant levels in the previous year. This amendment will save local water utilities, and consequently their customers, substantial amounts of money in printing and mailing costs.
We will keep you posted on Senate action. If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

 

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

 

 

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