Why One Democrat Voted for Farm Bill

Cindy Zimmerman

More Democrats than Republicans voted against the conference committee farm bill this week in the U.S. House, mostly because of the nutrition program reforms, but 89 did vote in favor despite that and one was Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), former mayor of Kansas City.

cong-cleaver-2In an interview today, Rep. Cleaver said it’s not a perfect bill, but it’s the best bill they could get. “I’ve been pushing compromise since I went to Congress ten years ago and this was an opportunity for me to practice what I preach,” said Cleaver, who is a United Methodist pastor by profession.

Rep. Cleaver, who has both rural and urban interests in his district, says he was heavily lobbied by Democratic groups, including the Progressive Caucus, to vote against the bill. “Because I represent almost four rural counties where I have a large number of farms and where I operate with a farmers’ advisory committee, I believed that in spite of some of the deficiencies, this was the best chance we had of getting a sound farm bill,” he said. “After all, it’s been two years trying to get a bill approved.”

Cleaver is hopeful Congress will make progress this year in other legislation important to agriculture, such as transportation and immigration. Interview with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)

Audio, Farm Bill