Farm Bill Provides Fertile Ground for Change

Heritage Action’s CEO Michael Needham and COO Tim Chapman have written an op-ed for Roll Call about taking on the big-government status quo of the Washington Establishment. Conservatives in Washington are driving real change, the kind of change that upends the Establishment and forces Washington to rethink its ways.

Until now, legislation like the transportation bill sailed through Congress unchecked. It led to increased spending and massive waste. This year, conservatives succeeded in bringing to light this disastrous bill and forcing the Establishment to reconsider. The Establishment is – naturally – resistant to change, and would prefer to return to the old days of growing government without the American people knowing. As Needham and Chapman point out, the upcoming farm bill will face a similar fate:

“Congress faces a similar situation with the farm bill. For decades, lawmakers have used the farm bill to shape America’s farm and food policy, funneling subsidies to certain agriculture interests and money toward welfare programs such as food stamps and mandating increased ethanol production.

“Now, the pressure of fiscal realities has created an uncertain future for the traditionally bipartisan bill. Already, the wheat and sugar lobbies are hard at work to protect their subsidies. The Republican point man on the farm bill, Rep. Frank Lucas (Okla.), dismissed the House-passed budget in a statement as merely a ‘suggestion’ because it would force him to recognize those realities.

“Despite being on defense for years, farm bill proponents have rarely ceded ground. Just take the 2008 farm bill, which authorized a record $288 billion in spending and increased payments during a time of record profits. Republicans — 100 in the House and 34 in the Senate — joined their Democratic colleagues to override President George W. Bush’s veto. If not for an overlooked $37 billion tax increase in the bill, more Republicans would have joined.

“While the farm bill’s historical bipartisan appeal seems daunting, the ground is fertile for change. If lawmakers are serious about saving the American dream, they must continue these fights. It is not enough to repeal Obamacare and implement a fiscal plan in the vein of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) proposal, though both are essential.”

You can read the entire op-ed here to find out why, if lawmakers are committed to limited government, they “must embrace their natural allies and vigorously oppose the upcoming farm bill.”

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