2007 Scorecard Vote
Grasslands provide habitat for hundreds of species, including grassland birds--America's fastest declining group of bird species. Unfortunately, the Grassland Reserve Program, which helps private landowners protect, restore, and enhance grasslands, pasturelands, and rangelands, has the largest backlog of unfunded applicants of any of our agricultural conservation programs. At the same time, the U.S. taxpayer has spent $3.5 billion for crop insurance, with $1.8 billion--over 50 percent--going to insurance companies, not farmers in need.
During consideration of H.R. 2419, the farm bill, Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN) offered an amendment to reform the crop insurance industry and channel the resulting savings into grassland conservation. The amendment would have safeguarded an additional 3 million acres of grasslands, roughly triple what has currently been protected. On July 27, 2007, the House rejected the Cooper amendment by a 175-250 vote (House roll call vote 754). YES is the pro-environment vote. At press time, the House and Senate had not yet reconciled their versions of the farm bill.