Last week, conservatives urged caution when House Republicans considered the farm bill, and on Tuesday the Associated Press reported House Republican leaders decided to table the measure that would extend the 2008 farm bill for another year.
Because the agriculture industry is unique, a very limited government role is needed, but more often than not, farm bills — especially when they are passed on the backs of disasters — are nothing more than pork-laden government handouts to special interest groups and large agri-businesses who want corporate welfare.
In this case, it was even worse than that. Nearly 80 percent of the bill under consideration dealt with food stamps, which the U.S. Department of Agriculture administers, and not with farms or farming.
So instead, House Republicans will focus on a more limited and targeted measure to give relief to those directly impacted by the recent droughts.
According to the AP, the disaster relief measure “would revive programs that were part of the 2008 farm bill but which expired last year,” including those that affect cattle, pork, and other livestock producers. They generally do not participate in the federally subsidized insurance programs that will partially shield corn, soybean and other crop producers from drought damage.”
From a tactical standpoint, the AP noted that House Republican leaders had been reluctant to bring the farm bill to the floor because it could get defeated, which would allow Democrats to paint Republicans as the party that turned its back on rural Americans in an election year in which rural voters are running away from Obama’s liberalism.