Politics & Government

GOP Senate hopefuls reject farm bill

North Carolina’s two U.S. senators split on Tuesday’s nearly $1 trillion farm bill, with Democrat Kay Hagan voting for it and Republican Richard Burr against.

Add Hagan’s GOP opponents to the “no” column.

The bill passed 68-32 with bi-partisan support. Its passage was applauded by Larry Wooten, president of the North Carolina Farm Bureau.

“Now our farmers will have a level of certainty as they make business decisions and secure financing for this crop year and beyond,” he said.

But Republican Senate candidates don’t like the bill.

“While I support a federal farm bill that creates some certainty and stability … I would have worked for a bill that would have helped North Carolina farmers more,” House Speaker Thom Tillis of Cornelius said in a statement.

“The sentiment in D.C. seems to be ‘this is the best we could get,’ and I regret that has become how those in Washington serve our state’s biggest industry.”

Greg Brannon of Cary called the bill “yet another example of the dysfunction in Washington.”

“It’s nothing more than corporate welfare for powerful special interests at the expense of taxpayers and small farmers,” he said. “… We should focus on solutions that protect taxpayers and support North Carolina’s farmers.”

Ted Alexander of Shelby said the bill hurts small farmers and does little to address food stamp abuse and the program’s “long-term tendency to make people less self-reliant.”

The food stamp program makes up about 80 percent of the bill’s cost.

Heather Grant of Wilkesboro said while the bill makes “small steps toward reform, the overall character is just more of the D.C. two-step.”

“I would oppose the bill because the perception is it cuts spending where needed and the reality is that the government is still spending money in areas where cuts should have been made.”

Edward Kryn of Clayton was more succinct: “Nearly 80 percent of the $1 trillion the … bill would spend over the next 10 years would go to the food stamp program!” he said in an email.

A spokesman for Mark Harris of Charlotte said the candidate was unavailable.