The Farm Bill Game Changes

The Farm Bill's future suddenly appears bleak. Huzzah!

(Page 2 of 2)

It appears, for example, that Rep. Stutzman’s vote was largely a move not of principle but a measure of his desire to continue to shovel Farm Bill pork to his congressional district, which Keep Food Legal research shows ranks in the top 15 percent in terms of subsidy dollars. (A call and email to Rep. Stutzman’s office asking for comment for this column were not returned.)

If the split Katz discusses doesn’t happen, then seemingly the easiest and most likely way forward would be for Congress to again extend the existing Farm Bill.

“I think there's a 95% chance that we just see an extension of current law, either for one or two years,” says Andrew Moylan, outreach director and senior fellow with the libertarian R Street Institute, in an email to me. “Crafting a modified comprehensive Farm Bill that makes up the 27 additional votes it would need for passage is exceedingly unlikely, and attempts to compartmentalize subsidies or implement piecemeal reforms like repealing permanent law are unlikely to gain traction in the Senate.”

A USA Today piece this week attempting to predict the way forward for the Farm Bill largely agrees with Moylan’s assessment. But the article also notes that powerful interests in the Senate, including majority leader Harry Reid, have vowed to block any such extension.

“The remaining 5% [chance],” says Moylan, “would be some sort of ‘back-door’ bill (i.e. the House simply attaching the Senate-passed bill to some other must-pass package like a… debt ceiling increase) or attempt to take a House-passed shell and move immediately to conference with the Senate bill.”

Whatever the outcome, you can bank on it being complex and costly. But it doesn’t have to be.

Farming preceded farm subsidies. And it will outlive them with or without Congress’s help.

The game has changed. It's time for Congress to play along.

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  • ||

    “The first step ought to be separating the nutrition and agriculture titles as distinct bills,” says Diane Katz, a research fellow in regulatory policy with the conservative Heritage Foundation, in an email to me. “This would break the unholy alliance between urban Democrats and rural Republicans that has stymied reform for decades. Only then can these programs be judged on their merits rather than their political expediency.

    I'm not holding my breath waiting for Congress to stop judging things based on political expediency. I think it's more of a divide and conquer strategy.

  • Atanarjuat||

    According to Top Woman Maxine Waters, Captain Transparency has an unprecedentedly huge database of info...but will only use it to blackmail future Democratic candidates.

  • Virginian||

    Saw something yesterday. Apparently Verizon has the contract for the Congressional Blackberries.

    Which means that the Administration probably has blackmail material on every member of Congress. Good thing they'd never use any of that info.

  • ||

    Blackmailing wrong-thinking people is the best possible use that data could be used for.

  • Robert||

    What makes you think there's anything in this subject area that could be called "merits" as distinct from political whatever? I mean, I guess I could see certain measures as being especially unmerited, i.e. full of dead weight loss that doesn't even accomplish much politically, but at best it's just a matter of some form or forms of attempts to enrich some at the expense of others.

  • m11_9||

    The farm bill has huge amounts of food stamp dollars in it. I have confidence that it will get worked out eventually.

    The correct pork ratio was not there. Have faith.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Food stamps are corporate pork. That is how they have Americans on a corn-based IV drip.

    The Senator from Archer-Daniels said so.

  • m11_9||

    Yep, Dick Turban will save the farm bill.

    By that time it will be a couple thousand pages longer.

    HFCS is mmmm-good, I think I will go prowl the kitchen, you're making me salivate for some syrupy goodness.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OT: Was this posted yesterday? Amazing shit anyway.

    When a half-dozen men and a woman in street clothes closed in on University of Virginia student Elizabeth Daly, 20, she and two roommates panicked.

    That led to Daly spending a night and an afternoon in the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Her initial offense? Walking to her car with bottled water, cookie dough and ice cream just purchased from the Harris Teeter in the Barracks Road Shopping Center for a sorority benefit fundraiser.

    A group of state Alcoholic Beverage Control agents clad in plainclothes approached her, suspecting the blue carton of LaCroix sparkling water to be a 12-pack of beer. Police say one of the agents jumped on the hood of her car. She says one drew a gun. Unsure of who they were, Daly tried to flee the darkened parking lot.

    I was out most of the day - will try to make up for it.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Yes, it was posted in an article yesterday.

    And please don't.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    And some people say that we don't already live in a police state.

  • Sevo||

    he local AP reseller is hiding it behind a pay wall, but it looks like Obama has a new PR department.
    "Obama has been shaped by Mandela"
    From the copy:
    "Inspired by Nelson Mandela's struggles in South Africa, a young Barack Obama joined campus protests...."

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Oh, he was very active on campus. That's why nobody remembers seeing him.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    OT: James Woods and his 20 year old girlfriend

    The sighting of the new couple comes in the wake of the Oscar-nominated actor's recent split from 26-year-old Ashley Madison after nearly seven years together.

    Now that's a man who knows what he wants and doesn't care what anybody else thinks about it.

    What's strange is that he's only 66 but looks like he's in his 80's.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    Sean Young stalking you will do that. Her hotness was only surpassed by her craziness.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    I had the good fortune of sharing a joint with Mr. Woods between the 2nd and 3rd periods of a Kings vs. Bruins hockey game. This was back in 1998 when they still played at the Forum. Nice guy.

  • Palin's Buttplug||

    OT: Obama 50/approve, 43/disapprove on Gallup two straight polls. Looks like the public is not buying into the fake scandals.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Hey, PB! You have something dripping from your chin.

  • tarran||

    Please stop encouraging it by interacting with it as if it's human!

  • Sevo||

    "the fake scandals."
    OK, so is dipshit part of AP, or just a free-lance liar?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Here's a tip: Real libertarians don't cheer at evidence of an ignorant public.

  • ||

    C'mon, PB there is a self-professed nonpartisan freedom fighter who scored 110 on the libertarian purity test.

    He has also assured us that obama is an ardent defender of the second amendment.

  • Radioactive||

    a free lance dipshit?

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Yeah. No one is buying these "fake" scandals!

    Obama Approval Rating Drops After NSA Surveillance News: Poll

    President Barack Obama's approval rating dropped eight points from last month, according to a CNN poll released Monday.

    The survey found that 45 percent of respondents approve of the president, while 54 percent disapprove. In mid-May, the numbers were essentially reversed -- 53 percent approved and 45 percent disapproved. Americans under 30 flipped by 17 points against Obama, according to the poll. Half of the respondents said they do not feel that he is honest and trustworthy -- a nine-point drop from last month.

    And according to Gallup, he's gained 6 percentage points in those who disapprove since January (40% disapproval in January v 46% disapproval now) and lost 7 percentage points in those who approve (53% approval in January v 46% approval now).

    So shut the fuck up.

  • Sevo||

    So we're still uncertain as to whether he's an independent liar or a liar associated with other liars?
    Well, I guess lying in either case is just sleazy lying.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Is that 50% approve group the same group that thought God put Bush in the white house? Or is it 50% of Obama voters, the ones (including Obama's Ass Plug) that think Hay-soos himself is in the white house?

  • daveInAustin||

    I would be great if we had a libertarian / evironmentalist coalition to help nail the coffin shut on this abomination.

  • Homple||

    Think the IRS has great powers? I bet they don't have jurisdiction over magicians' rabbits like the US Department of Agriculture does:

  • Radioactive||

    who has jurisdiction over my trouser rabbit?

  • ||

    My money remains on the Farm Bill and the US Agriculture Dept.
    Henry Wallace did a number on us all back in the early '30's and it will take another century to see the light at the end of Henry's tunnel.

  • Sevo||

    "Henry Wallace did a number on us all back in the early '30's and it will take another century to see the light at the end of Henry's tunnel."

    And the lefties would scream if they knew hos Wallace made hid fortune:
    GENE PATENTS! That's how.

  • Carlos||

    Strong support among libertarian and conservative operatives. Well that is interesting.

  • Jony||

    Specification farm bill is very important. Most of the time also involves the issue of food safety.

  • ||

    Even the lobbyists have bots now.

  • ||

    Even if you're not a libertarian, the obviously right thing to do is to repeal to the 1949 law and put in place some permanent bill to fix the subsidies and programs for the long term. Even a hardcore leftists ought to want a pemanent bill not another temporary extension.

    But they won't and here's why: Congress depends on the lobbying industry to keep money flowing to campaign coffers. If they put in place a permanent fix, then a whole group of special interests stops needing to come back ot the well to get another extension. By passing "temporary" measures, congress thus keeps people on the hook. They have to KEEP lobbying, and they have to keep on making donations to stay in the same place, to maintain their priviledges. Temporary measures keep everyone treading water so they remain beholden to their congressmens for their welfare.

    Moreover, the Congressmen can't even really *stop* doing such things. You let someone get out of the pool and go off and live his life and do his business and immediately, you place yourself at a competitive disadvantage relative to others. You lose your milch cows and thus election funds. In order to get elected and stay elected, you need a firm base of support, and special interests who are continually threatened, who continually need to keep lobbying, are one way to get that support.

  • ||

    If we're going to have any hope of changing this we need to understand the political economy of these temporary bills, so we can devise a rational method for countering the effect.

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  • Onlinecheap||

    If they put in place a permanent fix, then a whole group of special interests stops needing to come back ot the well to get another extension. By passing "temporary" measures, congress thus keeps people on the hook. They have to KEEP lobbying, and they have to keep on making donations to stay in the same place, to maintain their priviledges: see here


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