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Speaker Boehner Right to Reject Extravagant Farm Bill

Friday, December 21, 2012

House Speaker John Boehner made the right choice when he refused to include a trillion-dollar farm bill in legislation designed to avert the “fiscal cliff.”

Politico’s David Rogers quotes an aide to Boehner as saying:

We can’t drop a farm bill in the middle of whatever is negotiated. A 1,000-page bill on top of whatever is negotiated will just make our vote situation harder.

As we have seen, Speaker Boehner (R-Ohio) will have a hard enough time rallying Republicans to support deficit reduction legislation that includes new tax revenue and reforms entitlement programs even without including a farm bill that actually creates new entitlement programs for the largest and most successful farm businesses.

That’s right. Advocates for more farm welfare are trying to bypass the House of Representatives and jam a secret farm bill with new entitlements into legislation designed to fix the nation’s finances.

Why? Because farm welfare advocates know that if the farm bill comes up for full debate and a floor vote, bipartisan House champions of reform will not only reject new entitlements for farm millionaires but will also subject the existing subsidies to meaningful limits such as mean testing.

No wonder EWG joined the National Taxpayers Union, R Street and other groups in urging Congress to reject a secret farm bill.

As EWG’s Scott Faber said,

It would unconscionable for our nation’s leaders to bypass the House and attach a trillion-dollar farm bill to legislation designed to right the nation’s finances. This is especially true in light of the fact that both the House and Senate farm bills actually increase unlimited crop insurance subsidies at a time of unprecedented farm wealth. At a time when our nation’s leaders are asking ordinary Americans to contribute to deficit reduction, it is simply shocking that the same bill, the “fiscal cliff” bill, might give even more subsidies to farm millionaires and might further expose taxpayers to liability for farm payments.

A $1 trillion farm bill, especially one that has never been considered by the full House, has no place in a deficit reduction package.

The time to pass a new farm bill in the current session has come and gone. That work should be left to a new Congress to craft a better bill for American farmers, consumers and taxpayers. Right now, Congress should just finish its work on deficit reduction legislation and provide needed disaster relief to drought-stricken livestock operators.