This vote was on an amendment that would require the federal government to issue frequent updates for dairy farmers on the price of milk.
Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA) offered the amendment during consideration of a bill that authorizes federal programs that assist farmers and low-income Americans. Sen. Casey’s amendment would affect the way the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sets the minimum price that most dairy farmers receive for their milk under a price support program that dates to the Great Depression. The USDA periodically announces the minimum prices dairy farmers receive for their milk. Sen. Casey’s amendment would require those prices to be announced more than once per month instead of the current legal requirement of “at least” once per month. The amendment would also launch a study of whether the USDA should have two, rather than four, “classes” of milk.
Sen. Casey argued that his amendment would make the milk pricing program more transparent, ensuring dairy farmers had the information they need to plan ahead.
“We need to make sure our farmers have as much information about pricing to help the farmers themselves, dairy buyers, and dairy suppliers,” Sen. Casey said.
No senators spoke in opposition to Sen. Casey’s amendment. However, some conservative advocacy groups oppose federal dairy programs altogether, arguing that it hurts consumers by setting a minimum price for milk.
Sen. Casey’s amendment was approved by a vote of 73-26. Voting “yea” were 51 Democrats and 22 Republicans. Voting “nay” were 24 Republicans and 2 Democrats. As a result, the Senate moved forward with legislation that would require the federal government to issue frequent updates for dairy farmers on the price of milk.