Farm Bill Negotiators Pushing Passage Before The End of the Year
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Mike ConawayHouse Republican Average69% told reporters Monday, “There’s no reason not to get [a farm bill]. Every day we don’t get something done makes it more and more difficult.” Rep. Conaway would like to see a farm bill passed before the end of the year.
CQ reports (sub. req’d) The principal farm bill conferees Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Frank LucasHouse Republican Average51%, Rep. Collin Peterson (D-MN)Heritage ActionScorecardRep. Collin PetersonHouse Democrat Average25%, Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Debbie StabenowSenate Democrat Average0%, andSen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)Heritage ActionScorecardSen. Thad CochranSenate Republican Average57% are meeting this Wednesday to prepare for some kind of agreement between the House and Senate.
A Trillion Reasons Not to Pass the Farm Bill
But the truth is there’s a trillion reasons not to pass a farm bill hastily! The House and Senate bills would cost taxpayers nearly a trillion dollars.
The Wall Street Journal recently reported (sub. req’d) on the conservative perspective:
And he is right. Lawmakers cannot possibly make a good farm bill when they’re working with two flawed bills from the House and Senate.
The Heritage Foundation produced a side-by-side analysis of the two bills, and neither of them are acceptable for taxpayers and consumers, though they would both go a long way in lining the pockets of wealthy farmers. Thus, any combination of the two — any compromise that may be reached between House and Senate negotiators — will be harmful for the American taxpayer and consumer.
Take the shallow loss program, for example, which both the House and Senate bills incorporate into the farm bill. These programs should not be added to the farm bill at all because as even the American Farm Bureau Federation wrote in a letter to the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in 2011:
A shallow loss program is a drastic departure from any previous farm policy design. Federal farm programs have traditionally existed to help farmers survive large, systemic losses. Shallow losses, however, can arise from a variety of systemic or individual sources and do not typically jeopardize the survival of a farm operation.
The shallow loss program is one of many misguided programs in desperate need of reform. Haste makes waste, and in this case, rushing to pass a farm bill before the end of the year will mean trillions of wasted taxpayer dollars.