Farm Bill vs America

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from Club For Growth,

So why is the Farm Bill bad? Pretty simple…

It spends too much. This year’s bill is supposed to cost $956 billion dollars. That’s more than Obama’s stimulus. Here was the Roll Call vote – 23 Republicans opposed the bill.

It’s not even really a “Farm Bill” at all. 80% of the bill is food stamp spending. The cost of food stamps has doubled in five years. It’s quadrupled since 2000. Food stamps should be administered at a state level where costs can be more easily and effectively controlled.

To receive food stamps, there is no real work requirement. Seriously.

It includes a tax on Christmas trees. Yes, a tax on Christmas trees.

It keeps wasteful and costly farm subsidies. It replaces an ineffective system of “direct payments” with an even less effective system with zero caps on the subsidies farmer can receive. And there isn’t even an income threshold, meaning that subsidies will continue to go to large argi-businesses that don’t need them.

How did this bill pass a Congress where Republicans control the House?

1. The House GOP tried to pass a Farm Bill that contained all the bad policy outlined above, but it was defeated in the House for the first time in 40 years. (Here was the Roll Call vote – 62 Republicans opposed the bill)

2. Conservative leaders like Congressman Marlin Stutzman (IN-03) demanded that the bill be split in two. Splitting the bill into two was absolutely the right call. It allows farm and food stamp policy each to have its own, separate path toward meaningful reform. The only reason the unlikely pair were combined to begin with was purely political – urban legislators don’t like to vote for farm subsidies and rural legislators don’t like to vote for food stamps. By splitting the bill, Stutzman and others hoped to isolate each program and force the conversation on reform.

3. In a good faith effort, conservatives promised Republican leadership that they would vote in favor of a Farm Bill that was isolated from the food stamps issue.

4. Instead of one big, bad bill – we ended up with two, smaller bad bills. Republican Leadership was able to claim that they technically honored the agreement they had made with conservatives, even though they failed to honor the good-faith understanding conservatives thought had been reached. Yes, the bill was split in two but no real reform was achieved, leaving many conservatives feeling like they had been duped by Leadership into voting for a bad bill.

5. Most conservatives felt their hand had been forced and voted for the flawed Farm Bill. It should be noted though that there was at least a handful of stalwart fiscal conservatives who saw the ruse for what it was and voted AGAINST the Farm Bill, including Justin Amash (MI-03), Matt Salmon (AZ-05), Tim Huelskamp (KS-01), Tom McClintock (CA-04), Ron DeSantis (FL-06) and Mark Sanford (SC-01).

6. As soon as the Farm Bill and Food Stamp Bill passed the House, they were combined with the Senate version, and PRESTO: An awful trillion dollar Farm Bill again!

Watch Senator Mike Lee describe the Farm Bill vs America.

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