Farm Bill Bloat Should Be Voted Down

by Fran Smith on July 11, 2013

in Agenda for Congress, Agriculture, Politics as Usual

Today, CEI sent a letter to the House of Representatives urging a vote against the farm bill, H.R. 2642. The letter pointed out that the bloated bill is the one voted down when it was connected to the food and nutrition provisions, with an important addition that would make this legislation permanent.

Now that it is being considered separately, the agriculture leadership is trying to push it through under a closed rule with no amendments. By making it permanent law, the bill would leave in place huge subsidies for areas such as crop insurance and no reform of the sugar and dairy programs.

Here’s what the letter said:

Besides greatly expanding the heavily subsidized crop insurance program, the House bill does nothing to rein in the central planning schemes represented by the sugar program and the dairy program.

This bill would also make itself the permanent law for farm programs to replace the 1949 legislation. That takes the future of agricultural programs out of the hands of policymakers -no longer will they have to deal with a farm bill every five years. Instead, they can do nothing and revert to this travesty of farm bill reform.

The bill is being debated now, with many Democrats objecting to the separation of food and nutrition programs from the commodity provisions. Considering food programs separately from agriculture programs would make sense — the political dynamic could change, with urban representatives and rural interests not being in lock-step in passing massive ag bills. However, the Democrats seem to realize the food and nutrition programs then would have to be considered on their own merits and are objecting to this. The Republicans, on the other hand, are trying to ram through a bloated farm bill.

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