Is the Farm Bill in trouble?
Every few years the Congress takes up the Farm Bill, a relic of the New Deal that subsidizes and other taxpayer-funded giveaways for agriculture industry. The most recent legislation — the $604 billion, Food, Conservation, and Energy Act — was passed in 2008, though it was rejected by then-President George W. Bush; though Congress subsequently overrode the veto. The problems with the bill was that it spent far too much, subsidized millionaires, and cost Americans, not just in taxes and wasteful spending, but also through higher grocery bills.
The time has come for Congress to once again shell out billions in taxpayer dollars, but the $969 billion — seriously, it’s that expensive now — legislation may be put at risk due to a disagreement between party leaders on amendments that can be offered:
Senate Agriculture Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and ranking member Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) were scrambling Tuesday to save the $969 billion farm bill from failing on the Senate floor.
More than 100 amendments have been filed to the bill and more continue to pour in. Getting the farm bill to a final vote will require some agreement between Democrats and Republicans on a list of final amendments.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) wants to eliminate “non-germane” amendments but his Republican counterpart, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), is arguing that the must-pass legislation is a prime opportunity to enact a GOP priority wish list of anti-regulation legislation.
While the farm bill as drafted has the 60 votes it needs to pass, according to Stabenow and Roberts, the bill could fail if McConnell decides the GOP has not been treated fairly and urges the GOP conference to vote it down.
Roberts said that Farm Bill could fail.
“There is always that risk. The farmer puts his seed in the ground and hopes for a crop. That’s about where we are,” he said.
I want the bill to fail, but I’m not going to get my hopes. The bill just another version of corporate welfare, no different from the bailouts for Wall Street that we so often complain about; and rightly so. Unfortunately, there aren’t too many in the Senate, particularly Republican leadership, that will be willing to shoot the bill down. They’re just haggling over the process, not the principle of giving away nearly $1 trillion to special interests.