Government Watch / Opinion

What the Passage of the Farm Bill Means

from The Heritage Foundation – by Daren Bakst – House Republicans passed a farm bill today with a vote of 216 to 208. When the House leadership first announced it would separately consider the food stamp and farm components of the “farm” bill, it looked like they got the message that current farm policy was in dire need of reform. With separation, real reform to rein in market-distorting programs and special interest handouts could finally happen. But now that separation has occurred, they’ve forgotten the very reason why separation was needed in the first place.

Supporters of this farm-only farm bill wasted the golden opportunity that separation could have provided: the ability to promote policies that benefit taxpayers, farmers, and consumers in a fiscally responsible way. With the passage of this bill, the House has gone even further to the left than the Senate bill. It would spend more money than Obama on the largest farm program, crop insurance.

On top of all this, the process House Republicans used to get this 600-plus-page bill to the floor in a mere 10 hours essentially violates their own promise to conduct business in an open and transparent manner. They prohibited legislators from introducing amendments. And, they played a game of bait and switch by claiming this bill was the same text from the failed House farm bill of a few weeks ago.

In fact, they made this new bill even worse—by making sneaky changes to the bill text so that some of the costliest and most indefensible programs no longer expire after five years, but live on indefinitely. This means the sugar program that drives up food prices will be harder to change, because it doesn’t automatically expire. It also means the new and radical shallow loss program that covers even minor losses for farmers will indefinitely be a part of the law.

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7 years ago

When Congress really doesn’t even understand the real problem, how can you expect them to get the solution right? For many congressional Republicans, the “issue” in their minds was that both the Farm Bill and Food Stamps legislation were part of the same bill. So by splitting them into two separate bills, they considered the problem “solved”. Wrong analysis of the problem producing an ineffective and likely more costly “solution”, that we, as taxpayers, have to pay for.

Rather than focusing on the inherent waste, unnecessary price controls and obsolete rules, many of which were relics from the FDR 1930’s in the Farm Bill, to make it reflect today’s real-world conditions and then reigning in the massive costs associated with an exponentially expanding Food Stamp program, being driven by this administration as a new entitlement apparently for all, at least the entire Democrat base, the Republicans simply took the “easy way out”. So now we’ll get two bills passed, that will probably cost the taxpayers more than the original Farm Bill and still be loaded with lots of Christmas tree goodies too.

This country so desperately needs real reform, if it is to survive as anything but a hollowed-out shell of its former self.

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