1979 Scorecard Vote
S. 14. The bill raises the limits in the 1902 Reclamation Act, which says that federally subsidized irrigation water can be provided only to small farmers. The limits were raised from 160 to 1280 acres. The vote is on the Hatfield motion to kill the Cranston amendment, which would have allowed big agribusiness corporations to lease unlimited amounts of water and still enjoy subsidies for their first 1,280 acres, provided they pay full cost for any extra water. This would legitimize the widespread abuse of the Reclamation Act, which was originally intended to help family farmers. Many environmentalists would like to help small farmers compete with agribusiness, believing that resident farmers have more respect for their land. Agribusiness companies are now using cheap federal water to grow rice and other water-intensive crops in semi-arid regions of the West, when these crops could be grown more easily in the East, Midwest and South without wasting so much water and without creating political pressure to build more dams. The Carter Administration opposed the Cranston amendment and supported this motion to kill it. September 14, 1979. Passed 42-33. YES is the correct vote.