The Farm Bill failed in the House today, with most Democrats and some Republicans voting against it. From Georgia, Barrow, Kingston, Austin Scott, Westmoreland and Woodall voted for the bill according to the AJC’s Daniel Malloy via Twitter.
I haven’t said much about the Farm Bill on here. Our policy here is to avoid conflicts, and as I’ve previously disclosed, I have done work and anticipate doing more work for some who have a vested interest in sections of the bill. At some point I’ll probably try to break down some of the issues for those of you that are interested in shades of gray, but I am otherwise occupied at this point. Thus, I’m going to paste a note below from a non-elected friend of mine that I’m lifting with permission from an email chain I was on earlier today:
“What just happened was Tea Party Republicans trying to out conservative each other just voted to insure SNAP (which incidentally included drug testing before receiving benefits) is fully funded at record levels, keep direct payments to farmers for not growing crops, continue to prop up the sugar industry, and keep huge dairy support payments in place. Instead of cutting the budget by 40 billion the vote today insures very little deficit reduction. The Tea Party just gave Obama the biggest victory of his presidency.”
I put that here not so much to argue for the Farm Bill, but to encourage more people to think about the legislative process and the status quo. We now have it as an accepted talking point (a/k/a “known fact”) that the farm bill (and many other bills) are “pork”. Thus, a lot on the right are willing to cheer when virtually any bill is defeated.
What too often isn’t taken into consideration is the fact that absent a bill, the status quo continues unabated. Whether talking about life issues or appropriations bills, too many on our side have adopted an all or nothing mentality about any legislation.
So now we cheer a probably temporary defeat for the farm bill. Likely anything we gain in a scaled down House version will be added back in conference. Maybe by defeating this we’ll get incremental improvement.
More likely, however, we’ll get an extension in the status quo. SNAP is untouched. Farmers will continue to be paid to not grow crops. And “true conservatives” can pat themselves on the back knowing they remain pure – but without actually shrinking the size nor scope of government.