On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told Politico that he would support the 2013 Farm Billthat passed the Senate on Monday despite "concerns" about the legislation.
"I've got concerns about the farm bill, as I told our members. But doing nothing means that we get no changes in the farm program, no changes in the nutrition program," Boehner said. He added that "I'm going to vote for the farm bill to make sure that the good work of the Agriculture Committee and whatever the floor might do to improve this bill gets to a conference so that we can get the kind of changes that people want in our nutrition programs and our farm programs."
On Thursday, Tim Phillips, President of Americans for Prosperity, blasted Boehner's support for the farm bill. "It is disappointing to see Speaker Boehner express support for the 2013 Farm Bill, which has become little more than a bloated spending bill stuffed with $940 billion in welfare and corporate cronyism," Phillips said in a released statement.
"It’s difficult to see how anyone calling themselves a conservative Republican can vote for the largest expansion of food stamp spending and corporate cronyism in American history, and then expect support from primary voters next election season," Phillips added. He vowed that Boehner's support for the bill would have political consequences. "Our activists around the country are staunchly opposed to this kind government overspending, waste, and corporate welfare. In the coming days, we’ll be making sure their voices are heard loud and clear."
Michael Needham, CEO of Heritage Action, also criticized Boehner's support for the 2013 Farm Bill. "Republicans retained control of the House to serve as a check on President Obama’s disastrous policies," he said. "Advancing a nearly one trillion dollar food stamp and farm bill ignores that mandate. Now is not the time to be locking in the President’s failed stimulus policies."
Most conservatives refer to the legislation as "the food stamp bill" rather than the farm bill because the majority of the expenditures authorized in the bill relate to the expansion of the food stamp program instead of direct aid to farmers.
On Friday, the Wall Street Journal reported that AFP plans on spending more than $100,000 in opposition to the 2013 Farm Bill, and "is using email, social media and targeted phone calls to ask a segment of its 2.3 million members to apply pressure on their local members of Congress to oppose the nearly $1 trillion bill. AFP is targeting members in 15 House districts, including House Speaker John Boehner."
The AFP's Phillips told the Journal "Republicans, in particular, risk a primary challenge, if they vote for the measure."