The Senate is, at this writing, about halfway through voting on 70-plus amendments to the S. 3240, the Farm Bill; the Organic Consumers Association helps you tell your Senators to support or oppose certain amendments. Sadly, a few good ones -- like the Gillibrand (D-NY) amendment restoring deep cuts in food stamps and the Paul (R-KY) amendment forbidding folks making over $250,000 from getting subsidies -- didn't pass yesterday, but more get a vote today. S.A. 2186, a Coburn (R-OK)/Durbin (D-IL) production, would cut subsidies somewhat for rich farmers -- though I prefer S.A. 2201, the Shaheen (D-NH)/Toomey (R-PA) production that would cap the amount crop insurance would pay out to all farmers, which (per Sen. Toomey's office) will also get a vote today. Also, Sen. Sanders (I-VT) has offered a GMO-labeling amendment (S.A. 2256), and Sen. Merkley (D-OR)'s amendment (S.A. 2382) would ensure that crop insurance pays organic farmers more fairly. The "junk food" subsidies lay untouched, however; if that sticks in your craw, then PennPIRG still helps you
Meanwhile, closer to home, the Pennsylvania state government continues acting on very shoddy budget and environmental priorities -- leasing state forests to gas drilling corporations while blocking a decent solar energy bill, HB 1580, and figuring, somehow, that Pennsylvania taxpayers can cough up $1.6 billion in tax breaks so that Shell can build an "ethane cracker" refinery in Beaver County. That last item (negotiated in secret by the Corbett Administration -- what, they don't have enough Republicans in the legislature?) has earned the Governor some well-deserved PR backlash, but he's like all the other wannabe Bushes and Walkers: he doesn't care what you think. Still, we must ask: what giant corporation needs yet more tax breaks? Put a few beers in a corporate CEO and he'll tell you the truth: they'll take whatever tax breaks you offer them, but they don't need them, nor do they consider them very much in making decisions on where to build their facilities. So the Sierra Club helps you tell your state legislators to get their priorities straight.