Heritage Action Combats the Gargantuan Farm and Food Stamp Bill with Your Help
The farm bill is a big issue — a $1 trillion issue, to be precise. This number is difficult to fathom, especially when you put it in the context of our nation’s $16 trillion debt!
Heritage Action has dutifully tracked the farm and food stamp bill, to ensure that lawmakers in Congress do not continue to waste taxpayers’ money and to call for the separation of farm policy from food stamp policy. For the past forty years, the spending in this bill has done nothing but increase. And we have had enough of the recklessness. It’s time for real reform.
Heritage Action, together with your grassroots support, is pushing Congress to bring this spending to a halt at long last. Take a look at what we’ve accomplished together.
In early August, we called it like we saw it. The farm bill is no such thing. The outrageous truth is that 80% of the spending in the farm bill goes toward food stamps. Heritage Action’s CEO Mike Needham and Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) explained that this type of spending results from an “unholy Washington alliance between rural lawmakers and their urban and suburban colleagues.”
Thanks to our pressure, a matter of days later, we were able to report that Congress was headed into uncharted territory for the farm bill when Congress decided not to take up a one-year extension of the disastrous 2008 farm bill. We noted:
“The fact that a one-year extension, as opposed to the committee-passed five-year bill, was even on the table is uncharted territory and a significant sign that opposition to Washington’s “business as usual” approach is growing.”
This was truly reason for celebration:
“The Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management (FARRM) Act of 2012 (H.R. 6083) that passed out of the House Agriculture Committee was an atrocious market-distorting welfare bill rife with special interest handouts, price supports, and new shallow loss crop insurance subsidies. The 10-year spending projections of this bill according to CBO was $957 billion—a 60 percent increase from the 2008 bill that passed by the Pelosi-led Congress despite President Bush’s veto.”
Following this victory, we reminded you of the part you play in this important battle and that your calls really do make a difference. Part of the reason this awful bill did not pass — apart from its painfully clear need of reform — is that representatives from farm districts were getting next to no calls from constituents urging for its passage. Meanwhile, they heard your voice calling for much needed reforms, not the faux reforms included in the committee-passed bills.
It is clear that you have an impact on whether or not a bill gets passed, and thankfully, the hole in taxpayers’ pockets was not made any larger since the farm and food stamp bill was not reauthorized. It expired this past weekend. And the earth did not tilt on its axis!
Heritage Action made it very clear that the sky would not fall as a result of the bill’s expiration, and everything is fine. The only real, tangible effect is that producers of certain commodities would be uncertain about the size of payments they may receive. And with farmers earning record profits, this concern is negligible. Farmers, like any businessperson, should prepare fiscally on their own and accept the kind of responsibility that all other entrepreneurs and businesspeople take on when they run a business.
So despite the dire predictions from select groups of people, the implications of not having a farm bill are largely insignificant. This is something even Mary Kate Thatcher, the director of congressional affairs for the American Farm Bureau, conceded!
As we’ve reminded you before, no victory (or defeat) is final in Washington. There is always work to be done. So while there is definitely reason to be glad about our shared success, we can’t rest on our laurels. Lawmakers must always be kept in check so that they are truly serving the peoples’ best interests, not robbing them blind.