Farm Bill Sees First Ever Stall

Jul 22, 2012

Almost two years after the historic 2010 election, many conservatives continue to view Washington with disgust. A series of bad legislative deals - the so-called Budget Control Act (BCA) chief among them - have left conservative voters wondering whether their efforts were worth it; and more alarmingly, whether they should put forth that effort this fall.

One thing we can all agree on - even President Barack Obama - is that change doesn't come easy in Washington. As if to prove the point, the Senate passed a nearly one trillion dollar farm bill last month, and just two weeks ago the House passed their own $957 billion farm bill out of the House Agriculture Committee. The difference is that the House farm bill is not expected to go anywhere.

In just under two years, conservatives have done more to knock the Washington Establishment off course than President Obama has in nearly four. Politico provides fresh evidence that despite an election year mindset, conservatives are still changing Washington:

"Never before in modern times has a farm bill reported from the House Agriculture Committee been so blocked. POLITICO looked back at 50 years of farm bills and found nothing like this. There have been long debates, often torturous negotiations with the Senate and a famous meltdown in 1995 when the House Agriculture Committee couldn't produce a bill. But no House farm bill, once out of committee, has been kept off the floor while its deadline passes."

Why has this farm bill become so toxic? Because the American people, thanks to Heritage Action and conservatives across the country, are aware of the massive increase in spending and subsidies - as well as food stamps - included in this bill.

This is the same reason the transportation bill took so long to pass. When the American people are aware of the behind-the-scenes deals being made in Washington, they oppose. These bills may have easily passed in past Congresses, but now that the American people are clued in, Washington can no longer go along with the status quo.

Remember, in May, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham and COO Tim Chapman wrote in Roll Call that the farm bill provided an opportunity for conservatives to flex their muscle:

"While the farm bill's historical bipartisan appeal seems daunting, the ground is fertile for change. If lawmakers are serious about saving the American dream, they must continue these fights. ... To be committed to limited government, Republican lawmakers must embrace their natural allies and vigorously oppose the upcoming farm bill."

Let's make sure we capitalize on that opportunity!