How the Iowans in Congress voted on food policy

Among the Iowans in Congress, Senator Tom Harkin has the strongest voting record on sustainable farming and food practices, according to the new National Food Policy Scorecard. Representative Steve King, U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley, and Representative Tom Latham had the lowest scores in the Iowa delegation.

Food Policy Action describes its mission and the scorecard methodology here:

Our mission is to highlight the importance of food policy and to promote policies that support healthy diets, reduce hunger at home and abroad, improve food access & affordability, uphold the rights & dignity of food and farm workers, increase transparency, improve public health, reduce the risk of food-borne illness, support local and regional food systems, treat farm animals humanely and reduce the environmental impact of farming and food production. Food Policy Action promotes positive policies through education and publication of the National Food Policy Scorecard. […]

The 2012 National Food Policy Scorecard provides objective, factual information about the most important food legislation considered and the corresponding voting records of all members of the 112th Congress. This Scorecard represents the consensus of food policy experts who selected the key votes on which members of Congress should be scored. Food Policy Scorecard scores votes on the most important issues of the year, including domestic and international hunger, food safety, food access, farm subsidies, animal welfare, food and farm labor, nutrition, food additives, food transparency, local food, organic food and the impacts of food production on the environment. The votes included in this Scorecard help distinguish which legislators are working for sensible food policies.

This page lists the 18 votes used to evaluate members of the U.S. Senate for the scorecard (for instance, farm bill amendments affecting agricultural subsidies or cuts to food assistance programs). Harkin received a score of 78 percent, while Grassley was way down with 33 percent.

This page lists the 14 votes used to evaluate members of the U.S. House (for instance, a bill to weaken the Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of pesticides, and an amendment that would eliminate the USDA’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” program). For each vote there’s a link to a page providing background and listing the House roll call.

Bruce Braley had the top score of 69 percent among Iowa’s U.S. representatives. This page lists how he voted on each measure scored. The other Iowa Democrats Dave Loebsack and Leonard Boswell had identical records on the 14 scored votes, producing a Food Policy Scorecard number of 64 percent.

Tom Latham’s score of 36 percent was higher than quite a few House Republicans. The difference between his record and Steve King’s (14 percent) was that Latham voted for a few amendments related to the Women, Infants, and Children program or organic farming.

This page lists all members of Congress in alphabetical order, along with their food policy scores.

  • Steve King claims to be pro-life

    But he voted to cut funding for WIC. Among other things, the program provides nutrition assistance to low income pregnant women to insure fetal health, reduce low birth weights and consequent developmental problems, and reduce spontaneous abortions (miscarriages).

    King also voted to cut fund for WIC to provide counseling to encourage breast feeding.

    Both of these votes failed. King was only joined by the most extreme TEA Party members of the GOP caucus and none of the other members of the Iowa delegation.

    Some say with the GOP, life begins at conception and ends at birth. With King, life begins and ends at conception.

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