Last Thursday, the House GOP passed an "agriculture only" version of the Farm Bill that did not contain the provisions reauthorizing the food stamp programs that were in the version of the Farm Bill that failed to pass the House in June. While many fiscal conservatives had wanted to separate the food stamp and agriculture programs, that was only a means to an end. The theory was that if the two programs were separated, it would be easier to implement pro-taxpayer reforms in each program.
However, the Farm Bill that passed last week was actually worse than the Farm Bill that the bill that passed the Senate in June. The new House bill not only costs taxpayers at least $1 billion more than the Senate bill, but it spends more than President Obama’s proposed spending on agriculture programs in his budget! That's right - the so-called "fiscally conservative, Tea Party Congress” just passed a Farm Bill out spending Barack Obama and Harry Reid.
This Farm Bill also has no income limits or caps on who can receive crop insurance, so millions can continue to receive crop insurance underwritten by the taxpayer. The bill also assumes that commodity prices will remain at today’s record high levels, so even a modest drop in commodity prices will lead to huge taxpayer-financed payments.
Perhaps the worst part of the bill is that it makes the most of the farm program - including crop insurance for millionaires - permanent. While future Congresses could still revisit, reform, and (hopefully) even repeal these programs, making them permanent makes it more difficult to convince House leadership to do so. One might think the House would spend a fair amount of time on this bill, but the bill was introduced late Wednesday night, giving members less than a day to read over 600 pages. The rule accompanying the bill waived all points of order against the bill, which meant no member could object to the fact that bringing the bill to the floor less than 10 hours after it was introduced violated House rules requiring bills to be posted at least three days before being voted on. Adding insult to injury, the bill was brought to the floor under a "closed rule" so members could not offer amendments.
Yet, most Republicans voted for this bill. Some buckled under pressure from GOP leadership, while others wanted to help out their constituents with farm subsidies. Whatever the reason, this was a shameful day for the GOP and shows why Campaign for Liberty members need to keep the pressure on politicians of both parties to reduce spending, repeal unconstitutional federal programs, and honor their oath to uphold the Constitution