To say that the trillion-dollar farm and food stamp bill is a little bloated is putting it very lightly.
Heritage’s Daren Bakst explains
the CBO projects the bill’s cost to be $955 billion over the next ten years. That is the low estimate, friends. This bill is a whopper. He says:
When trillion-dollar bills are being discussed in Congress, we all need to pay attention.
Yes. And Congress needs to pay attention when conservatives make recommendations about how to rein in costs. Why? Well, we’ve mentioned on more than one occasion: our country is nearly $17 trillion in debt. That’s a really big deal. For some perspective, our debt at $16 trillion in 2012 was 84 percent of GDP.
Some will ask, are we really going to rein in spending on the backs of poor little farmers?!
No. Actually farmers experienced record profits in 2012 and the biggest beneficiaries of farm subsidies are the biggest, most technologically, most financially stable farms. Farms and farmers will not be obliterated from the face of the earth if the trillion-dollar farm bill undergoes real conservative reforms.
When the Senate reconvenes for legislative business next Monday, June 3, they will resume consideration of the five-year farm and food stamp bill (sub. req’d
The Senate worked through several proposals to the bill this week, including two adopted Thursday that would end crop insurance subsidies for well-to-do farmers and allow crop insurance funds be used to reimburse farmers for losses incurred when policies are reviewed for compliance and fraud.
Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., said an agreement on amendments should be reached by the time senators return from the recess.
“I’m very confident that when we come back into session in another week that we will complete our process,” she said Thursday.
After the farm bill, Senate leaders are hoping to move to an immigration policy measure (S 744) that the Judiciary Committee approved Wednesday.
Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., had indicated earlier this week that he’d be willing to set aside the farm bill to take up the immigration bill but said Thursday he may wait until the second week of June, which would give Stabenow another week to finish work on her bill.
For Congress, the best solution on student loans would be to work toward getting the government out of the student loan industry all together
. This would prevent taxpayers from being on the hook for student loans that are never repaid. Nonetheless, they are considering options that would keep the federal government involved to varying degrees to determine student loan interest rates (sub. req’d
Another partisan fight over federal student loan interest rates looms on the House floor today as Republicans try to shift the program to a market-based approach. The GOP bill was based on a proposal in Obama’s fiscal 2014 budget request to peg interest rates to 10-year Treasuries. The key distinction is the bill would allow rates to fluctuate with the market and be reset each year. Democrats want to eliminate some uncertainty by setting rates on the Treasury’s actual cost of borrowing and then fixing them for the life of the loan. In its veto threat, the White House said the bill would burden students from lower-income families with potentially onerous rate increases. Critics have also noted the legislation lacks Obama’s proposal to extend repayment options to borrowers who have already left school. Even if the bill makes it out of the House, its prospects are grim in the Democratic Senate, which could adopt a plan (S 953) to simply extend the current 3.4-percent rate or to address rates as part of a reauthorization the Higher Education Act.
Last night the Senate Judiciary Committee brought us one step closer to giving amnesty to the 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States (sub. req’d
After five days of debate, the Senate Judiciary Committee backed a bipartisan immigration overhaul Tuesday evening that would create an incremental path to citizenship for most of the roughly 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.
The panel sent the sweeping legislation (S 744) to the full Senate by a 13-5 vote, prompting applause and chants of “Yes we can” from onlookers in the packed committee room. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said he’ll move to bring the bill to the floor in June.
Republicans Orrin G. Hatch of Utah, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Jeff Flake of Arizona joined all panel Democrats in support of the measure. Graham and Flake are members of the bipartisan “gang of eight” that crafted the proposal, and Hatch’s support — in committee at least — was cemented earlier in the evening, when the panel tacked on a compromise measure on high-skilled worker visas.
Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham stated:
Yesterday’s vote is further evidence that some in Washington seem intent on repeating the mistakes of the past. In 1986, Congress granted amnesty to three million people with the promise of enforcement and border security. Since then the population of illegal immigrants has nearly quadrupled.
The Senate Judiciary Committee missed an opportunity to get immigration reform right. America can get the benefits of a reformed immigration system without the costs of amnesty. The American people deserve a system that works.
Regardless of how you may feel
about amnesty and the cost
thereof, you simply cannot ignore that the Gang of Eight immigration bill fails
to fix the flaws of our border security system.
If it takes one step forward with its strong language on improving border security, it takes two steps back by giving the Secretary of Homeland Security broad and sweeping discretion to waive its border security requirements, Hans von Spakovsky explains.
The bill appears to have strong language setting forth strict rules and requirements for border security. But perception is not reality because it also gives the “secretary of homeland security pretty much carte blanche to waive the vast majority of the requirements detailed in the bill.”
Don’t believe von Spakovsky?
Institutions such as the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council of the American Federation of Government Employees and the United States Citizen and Immigration Service Council expressed serious concerns with the bill on May 9 and May 20, respectively. They fear the “virtually unlimited discretion” the bill gives to DHS and they sent a letter to Congress letting lawmakers know.