Farm bill conferees considering unsatisfactory minor fixes to the bloated, archaic farm bill may help President Obama obtain one of his year end goals. In speeches around the country, Mr. Obama has been pressing for the passage of a farm bill.
Are lawmakers in the House and Senate truly working to protect taxpayers and reduce the $17 trillion national debt as they consider the farm bill?
Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR) 14% suggested that the farm bill conferees were working to protect taxpayers and “modernize” farm policy during the farm bill conference meeting on October 30.
UPDATE 10/11/13: The House will be debating the rule for going to conference this afternoon. After the vote on the rule, there will be debate on the motion to go to the conference followed by debate on three motions to instruct. The votes on the motions to instruct will likely take place tomorrow.
A farm bill conference will almost certainly result in agriculture policies that harm taxpayers and consumers because both the House and Senate farm bills contain such flawed policies. Yet, the House has reportedly chosen lawmakers to participate in the farm bill conference with the Senate:
Rep. Frank Lucas (R-OK) 52%
Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) 72%
Rep. Rick Crawford (R-AR) 68%
Rep. Steve King (R-IA) 75%
Rep. Austin Scott (R-GA) 73%
Remember the “Choose Your Own Adventure” interactive fiction stories from your childhood or your children’s childhood? The books took place in a variety of settings, and, as the name suggests, there were a variety of possible endings to the stories.
Well, imagine a Choose Your Own Adventure Farm Bill Edition! There is a variety of possible outcomes that could result from a farm bill conference between the House and Senate, but there’s a catch: all the outcomes of a conference will be bad, at least for some of the characters. The other catch is that this is real life, not fiction, so real people will be harmed.
Taxpayers and consumers will get the shaft, while wealthy farmers continue to feed at the farm bill trough.
Why is the picture necessarily so grim?
In light of our nation’s nearly $17 trillion debt, conservatives are always looking for ways the government can and should cut spending. With all the wasteful spending in Washington, identifying the waste is not hard; getting Washington to change, however, is an uphill battle.
American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman says the farm bill isn’t just a farm bill – it’s an economic stimulus bill that creates jobs and helps small businesses and rural communities every year.
You don’t have to be an economist to grasp this: taking taxpayer money and giving it to corporate agriculture interests doesn’t stimulate the economy. It just hurts taxpayers.