Morning Action: Food Stamp and Farm Bill On the Ropes
FARM BILL. Fortunately, the trillion dollar food stamp and farm bill vote may be delayed until next week as Republican and Democrat leadership are unsure that there is sufficient support (sub. req’d):
Democratic and Republican aides signaled Tuesday evening that final passage of the farm bill could be delayed until next week, as the House Rules Committee sifts through more than 200 amendments and leadership on both sides of the aisle wonder whether there are even enough votes to pass it.
“Sounds like [Republicans] are having trouble rounding up votes and need more time to try to get them,” one Democratic leadership aide said.
A Republican leadership aide, meanwhile, attributed the holdup to the sheer volume of amendments.
“We’re reviewing the amount of amendments and how much time it will take to debate,” the GOP aide said.
House agriculture leaders are attempting to keep the bill intact as lawmakers consider amendments on the floor. The Rules Committee approved a rule Tuesday night that would allow votes on 103 amendments, including ones that would make major changes to dairy and sugar programs (sub. req’d).
Agriculture Chairman Frank D. Lucas (R-OK) and ranking Democrat Collin Peterson (ND) believe that a mere $20.5 billion in cuts over 10 years to food stamps is sufficient. Yet the food stamps would still cost $750 billion over that period, and food stamp participation has reached record highs. Heritage explains why the 2.5 percent cuts are not nearly enough; the program has increased in costs nearly 100 percent since 2008!
We are key voting against the food stamp and farm bill. The key vote can be viewed here. Call your representative now to tell them you oppose this bill!
AMNESTY. The Gang of Eight is praising the latest Congressional Budget Office review that finds their amnesty bill would reduce the federal deficit (sub. req’d):
The CBO, in conjunction with the Joint Committee on Taxation, found that the Senate bill would slash the federal deficit by $197 billion over the next decade, according to a formal cost estimate. In an unusual move, the CBO projected the bill would reduce the deficit in the following decade by about another $700 billion.
“The CBO has further confirmed what most conservative economists have found: reforming our immigration system is a net benefit for our economy, American workers and taxpayers. There remain some key areas that need to be tightened up to prevent those who have violated our immigration laws from accessing federal benefit programs,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement.
The CBO’s findings weren’t entirely positive in the short-term, however. The office does project a wage decline in the first years with the new population of legal workers. The decline would eventually be reversed, the CBO says.
Heritage explains the CBO estimate is extremely flawed. They only look at the first 10 years after amnesty. They move costly items off into the future on purpose, the same thing they did with Obamacare. The truth is that the bill will fail to secure the border, drive down wages, and burden taxpayers with trillions of dollars in welfare and entitlement costs for the newly legalized immigrants under amnesty.
STUDENT LOANS. The Senate has reportedly come close to an agreement on student loans (sub. req’d):
Senate Democrats and Republicans and the White House are making headway in their negotiations to prevent federal student loan interest rates from doubling July 1.
The plan, which is broadly based on President Barack Obama’s proposal for averting the interest rate hike included in his fiscal 2014 budget request, may be finalized as soon as this week, according to one of the principal negotiators. It calls for shifting from the current 3.4 percent fixed interest rate to a market-driven variable interest rate.
“The president and several of us in the Senate have the same idea, so we’re trying to work out the differences,” Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said Tuesday. “I’d like to be able to do that by the end of the week and see if we can pass it next week.”
Heritage’s Lindsey Burke has explained:
As long as the federal government is in the student loan business, fair-value accounting practices should be employed.
However, moving forward there should be no subsidy for the loan program. Anything else is harmful to taxpayers who “bear the burden of risky loans if a student later defaults.”
OBAMA. He has made renewed calls for nuclear reductions:
President Barack Obama is calling for a one-third reduction of the world’s nuclear stockpiles.
Obama is speaking at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate, a powerful symbol of the Cold War. He says it’s possible to ensure American security and a strong deterrent and also reduce nuclear weapons.
He says he intends to seek negotiated cuts with Russia to move beyond a Cold War nuclear posture.
Obama is pledging to work with NATO allies to forge a new international framework for peaceful nuclear power. He says the U.S. will hold a summit in 2016 on securing nuclear materials around the world.
He’s also calling for a treaty to end production of fissile material.