In case you haven’t heard, Al Franken of “Saturday Night Live” fame is now Senator Al Franken of Minnesota. He’s written several books, namely “The Truth” and “Rush Limbaugh is a Big Fat Idiot”. I don’t know much about Limbaugh, but I do know some folks are tired of the perceived mass sellout of politicians. From all appearances, Franken’s followers seem to think he is on the sellout bandwagon.
The 2012 Farm Bill is stalled in the House now, probably until after the election. The bill passed the Senate 64-35 with 16 Republicans voting with Democrats to move this legislation forward for a House vote. There has been some contention between the peanut farmers and cotton farmers versus the soy and corn farmers as to how subsidies should be doled out to the tune of almost $1 trillion dollars over the next 10 years. To subsidize crop insurance for farmers, $90 billion dollars has been slated.
According to the Environmental Working Group, which tracked numbers during the last decade, 4 percent of the farmers were getting 30 percent of the money with eight times more tax dollars going to big commercial farms rather than fruit, nut or vegetable farms not meant for processed foods.
Food Nation Radio Network recently interviewed the EWG about the more concerning aspects of the bill affecting the elderly, the poor and children. We also covered genetically modified food and the disconnect between the Farm Bill and the push for healthy school lunch. You can listen to that audio here:
Franken’s followers in social media were rather displeased (to put it mildly) about his support for the bill and lack of support for what some constituents viewed as important amendments. Here are some of their comments:
Tod W. Great, though I think some of us would like to know why you voted against Senator Gillibrand’s food stamp bill. I’m hoping you had a good reason, because I can’t think of one.
Thomas J. To bad about the children, seniors, and poor who will see their SNAP benefits be cut. They just need to tighten their belts a little (more).
Liz M. So dispirited about your vote against the most vulnerable. Can’t get my head around how you could have voted against feeding the hungry.
Mary C. Big Agro-business subsidies were straight up wasteful spending, so good on cutting those. SNAP benefits should be left alone, though – especially in these tough economic times. I’m disappointed to see that nutrition for the poor/unemployed/seniors/kids makes a nice bargaining chip in congress.
Greg P. Yes, Al, how did you vote on the Sanders amendment requiring GMO labeling?
Stephan H. Al why did you vote for this and why are you such a TOOL for industry. Is re election worth POISONING our children! A$$hole! You can erase me ban me but I voted for you I supported you and I am angry and I get to swear at you!
Mike K. I’ve never understood pouring government money into private businesses! Farming is a choice just like my job is and the govt. has never bailed me out and it won’t. That is almost 1 Trillion dollars. This can not be necessary. It’s politics and vote buying as usual.
Robin B. You know, Al, the poor and the seniors may not have much, but we have one very important thing… A vote. Think about it.
Gary S. WHY THE HELL DID YOU VOTE A G A I N S T GMO FOOD LABELING ? Were you paid off by Monsanto ?
Food Nation Radio Network contacted Al Franken through his website in advance of this story and received no response.
Elizabeth Dougherty has been a food writer for over 10 years, attended culinary school and holds a Bachelor’s degree, Magna Cum Laude in Hospitality, Business and Labor Relations from NYIT. She has been a talk show host of nearly 150 episodes of Food Nation Radio which airs each Saturday afternoon at 4 on WWBA AM820 News and other stations. You can read her articles and hear previous shows on her podcast page on the Food Nation Radio Network website and on Facebook.