Agribusiness lobbyists pretty upset about that farm bill’s failure right about now

posted at 8:31 am on June 21, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

The House version of the farm bill that failed to glean the necessary votes to pass and move to conference with the Senate’s version on Thursday afternoon certainly might not have been the most watched or well-known piece of legislation hanging over the country, but the fact that it was unexpectedly thwarted was quite the dramatic turn of events on Capitol Hill.

The many farm and agribusiness lobbyists who were relying on the bill’s passage to safeguard the status quo and their countless specially interested, pork-tossing programs were shocked — righteously, indignantly shocked, I say! — and plan to continue to press the House leadership so that they can get theirs, dammit, no matter how much market distortion and taxpayer money it costs the American economy and budget. Via The Hill:

“We were shocked. We were watching the vote on TV and in the final minutes were saying ‘what are they doing? This thing isn’t going to pass!” said one commodity group lobbyist.

“I’m shocked,” said another lobbyist. “Our job as agriculture is to go to the House and say Mr. Speaker what is your plan for getting this done?” …

Lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee were holding calls and frantic closed-door meetings with lobbyists to discuss their next moves, sources said. …

The House bill was heavily backed by commodity groups, from rice and peanut producers in the South to corn, wheat and soy growers in the Midwest to the American Farm Bureau Federation and National Farmers Union. …

The gloom in the official statements from farm organizations was pervasive.

“Rather than pass a bill that reduces the deficit by $40 billion while meeting the commitments of a farm bill, the country was treated to more Washington dysfunction,” USA Rice Producers’ Group chairwoman Linda Raun said. “Patience in farm country is wearing thin.”

The heart bleeds.

The bill failed because of a number of Republicans’ insistence that the bill needed to make deeper cuts to both certain farm programs and food stamps (which, I would merely add, have grown about 70 percent in less than five years to an $80 billion/year program), which, when combined with a number of Democrats’ intransigence on allowing what they interpreted as too many, too draconian cuts to food stamps (by a little over $2 billion a year and adding work requirements, gasp!), took the bill down.

As one lobbyist put it, “I don’t know how you solve this. If you reduce the food stamp cuts to $16 billion how many Democrats do you gain, how many people do you lose?” One solution might be to end the marriage-of-convenience between food stamps and farm programs so that we can at least have a more transparent and honest debate about the wisdom of federal policy on both, except that neither lobbyists nor many lawmakers would care for that solution — it’s the very omnibus nature of the so-called farm bill that usually helps the farm bill’s spectacular awfulness to speed beneath the radar and garner both urban and rural votes.

It would seem that lawmakers are, for the moment, at an impasse — as Conn Carroll pointed out at the Washington Examiner, that doesn’t seem to bode well for the Senate’s immigration debate, does it?

After the Senate voted 66 to 27 to pass the Farm Bill two weeks ago, the House rejected the bill 234-195 yesterday. …

A majority of the House Republican Caucus will never vote for any bill that gives citizenship to those illegal immigrants already in the country. The only hope Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, ever had of moving amnesty through the House was on the backs of Democratic votes. After the Farm Bill, House Republican leaders are reassessing that strategy.

“I’d think that Democrats’ decision to sandbag us on the farm bill today makes it obvious how impractical it would be to rely on them for votes on immigration,” a GOP leadership aide told Roll Call.


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Awwww, let me get my violin for Big Ag. Now, where did I put my magnifying glass so I can find the violin?

Steve Eggleston on June 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM

“My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of subsidy . . .”

myiq2xu on June 21, 2013 at 8:35 AM

Luckily we have plenty of Obamaphones that can be sold for food..

Electrongod on June 21, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Terrific job House of Congress. Bout time to stop the freebies!! This is America. Righteous citizens work for their living.

karlinsync on June 21, 2013 at 8:40 AM

Obamaphones, Obamacare, Obamafood and it’s all FREE! Wait, what? The nerve of these jerks! How dare they not go along with our bloated vote buying plan! Peeps need they free, now!

ghostwalker1 on June 21, 2013 at 8:47 AM

Democrats didn’t vote for it because it cut food stamps slightly.

darwin on June 21, 2013 at 8:52 AM

Gop fault
-lsm

cmsinaz on June 21, 2013 at 8:58 AM

I can hear it now – “But, but, it’s for the family farmers. They’ll go broke if we don’t do something and a long standing tradition will be lost

Our pork and spend legislators missed that boat a long time ago. They feel so sorry for the small family farm they refuse to eliminate the death tax which robs the small family farmer’s right to leave his already taxed property to his heirs. How’s that helping the family farmer?

Give me a break. The only ones who are getting fat on all of the farm bills since FDR are the politicians and then the agri-businesses that joined them later on. Oh, and the food stamp frauds who are sucking at the government teat are raking it in too along with the businesses who sell the food that’s paid for with tax dollars.

I say kill the bill and while we’re at it, get rid of the ethanol subsidies. And yes, Al Sharpton, if that’s racist and a war on the poor, so be it.

iamsaved on June 21, 2013 at 8:59 AM

Gridlock, it’s what’s for dinner. Thanks, can I have another? I mean that in a good way, of course.

JimK on June 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

Well, according to Debbie Big-Old-A$$ Schults, a whole bunch of people just starved to death yesterday.

BigWyo on June 21, 2013 at 9:02 AM

The largest, richest corporations in the country are guaranteed profit courtesy of the US taxpayer who are struggling to pay their bills. Explain again why agriculture who has been experiencing record profits for years thanks to the ethanol boondoggle gets special treatment over every other industry?

trs on June 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Hobby Lobby farming.

hillsoftx on June 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Damn it, I would like to have sugar in my occasional Coca Cola instead of corn fructose. Every Congressperson should have to use high fructose corn syrup in their coffee every morning instead of sugar.

SC.Charlie on June 21, 2013 at 9:05 AM

The largest, richest corporations in the country are guaranteed profit courtesy of the US taxpayer who are struggling to pay their bills. Explain again why agriculture who has been experiencing record profits for years thanks to the ethanol boondoggle gets special treatment over every other industry?

trs on June 21, 2013 at 9:04 AM

Crony mercantilism.

ebrown2 on June 21, 2013 at 9:07 AM

have a more transparent and honest debate about the wisdom of federal policy on both, except that neither lobbyists nor many lawmakers would care for that solution

In case anyone doubted just how crooked the politicians are we send to Washington, that quote sums it up, nicely.

RADIOONE on June 21, 2013 at 9:08 AM

SC.Charlie on June 21, 2013 at 9:05 AM

Try Pepsi Throwback. It has real sugar. I too hate HFCS, leaves a nasty aftertaste.

Charlemagne on June 21, 2013 at 9:09 AM

Linda Raun said. “Patience in farm country is wearing thin.”

As thin as my patience for rent seeking garbage?

MNHawk on June 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Not a big deal, we can always drink ethanol for sustenance.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

I have an idea. Just for the month of August (and maybe September if it goes well), stop passing legislation. Repeal useless and stupid bills. Repeal bills that ended up having really bad unintended consequences. Repeal bills that are tying small and large businesses’ (job creators’) hands. Repeal all the vanity bills.

Clean up the reactionary and overambitious, overzealous, overreaching and overregulating laws. Nix the thousands of pages of legalese hidden in so many bills. No new legislation until your room is clean, Mister.

A girl can dream…

Fallon on June 21, 2013 at 9:18 AM

I drink Mexican Coke Cola made with sugar, it’s spendy but worth every Peso.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Get the congress, president and EPA out of my colon!

crash72 on June 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Not a big deal, we can always drink ethanol for sustenance.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Dunno about sustenance per-se, but it’s great for parties!

wearyman on June 21, 2013 at 9:21 AM

Not a big deal, we can always drink ethanol for sustenance.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Not when its use is mandated for transportation.

Steve Eggleston on June 21, 2013 at 9:27 AM

Not a big deal, we can always drink ethanol for sustenance. – Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:11 AM

Some of us do. I just don’t like it my gasoline. It ruins small engines, such as lawnmowers, weed-wackers, chainsaws, four-wheelers, etc. if you have any of these devices, buy gasoline that does not have ethanol in it. And, remember to use fuel preservative in your gasoline when you buy it. You won’t be running to get your small engine fixed all the time.

SC.Charlie on June 21, 2013 at 9:32 AM

I drink Mexican Coke Cola made with sugar, it’s spendy but worth every Peso.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

That drink made Carlos Slim the man he is today.

Remember your little friends when the time comes, please.

IlikedAUH2O on June 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

On local radio this morning, a rep from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation was warning that if this bill doesn’t pass right effing now, food prices will skyrocket. She didn’t explain how.

Also, she was adamant- adamant!- that food stamps must be tied to farm subsidies, so farmers will know what is going to be needed and therefore what to plant. The fact that food stamps account for more of the “farm bill” than any other single item she brushes off as irrelevant. (Not to mention the eerie echoes of “central planning” that evoked.)

The interviewer, of course, was polite enough not to ask about ethanol subsidies and tobacco price supports. This was on an Outlet Media-owned Fox affiliate, BTW, so you can’t really call them “progressive”… except where protecting Ohio farmers’ legislative turf is involved.

I have a crazy idea. Put food stamps in a separate bill for an up-or-down vote. Complete with estimates of how much it really costs for people to eat properly. (I have a pretty good idea, as I’m a bachelor on a pension; I eat more fresh fruits and vegetables than you might think.)

On the farm side, if a product is proven useless (like ethanol) or actually harmful (tobacco), stop funding for it already. Let the people who’ve been making money off “price supports” for it find something else to grow.

I find it ironic that we talk about the shortages of raw materials for foreign food aid when there is a Hell of a lot of farmland in this country going to waste in that department, because it’s being used to grow ethanol feedstock, which the government buys and gives to the also-subsidised processors. And tobacco, which the government doesn’t want anyone using anyway. Or at least, that’s what they claim, but they sure love the tax revenue on a pack of cigarettes.

Once more we see that the surest way to generate unintended and unwanted results is to let the government figure out how something should be run. Because government equals lawyers and social “engineers”, neither of whom understand the concept of “the laws of Nature cannot be changed by argument, protest, or legislation.

The natural world does not run on who has the most votes in Congress.

clear ether

eon

eon on June 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

I hate these b@$t@rds.
Bloodsuckers…and they want to import 30 million more.

The Federal Government is completely corrupt.
It needs a wholesale cleaning….return it to its stated purposes.
It will take the blood of Patriots.
III/0317

dirtengineer on June 21, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Luckily we have plenty of Obamaphones that can be sold for food..

Electrongod on June 21, 2013 at 8:37 AM

Heh, food…. riiight. Steaks & lobster with EBTs; purses & drugs for Obamaphones.

SteveInRTP on June 21, 2013 at 9:45 AM

“I’m shocked,” said another lobbyist. “Our job as agriculture is to go to the House and say Mr. Speaker what is your plan for getting this done?” …

Really? I thought your job, as agriculture, was to grow food.

Funny that…

JohnGalt23 on June 21, 2013 at 9:46 AM

That drink made Carlos Slim the man he is today.

Remember your little friends when the time comes, please.

IlikedAUH2O on June 21, 2013 at 9:36 AM

I found out recently that Mexicans drink more Coke than anywhere else in the world, and after discovering their version of it I can see why.

But yes I will remember certain people when the downfall happens, I keep plenty of cots available in the guest bunker.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:54 AM

On local radio this morning, a rep from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation was warning that if this bill doesn’t pass right effing now, food prices will skyrocket. She didn’t explain how.

eon on June 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Real laissez-faire capitalism is evil, comrade. Crony mercantilism and corn riots for the win!

/sarcasm off

ebrown2 on June 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

I drink Mexican Coke Cola made with sugar, it’s spendy but worth every Peso.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Yeah…But is it made with mexican water?

just sayin’

workingclass artist on June 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Hey “Farm Country” lobbyists, welcome to our world! Your patience is wearing thin you say? Well, my patience is gone the way of a dry Oklahoma wind. This whole rent-seeking world of DC spending just plain sucks.

Eisenhower warned us of the military-industrial complex, and I agree we should beware, but Toquevilles warning is much more fundamental, and older: The Republic will finally start to die when citizens realize they can vote themselves government largesse.

MTF on June 21, 2013 at 10:09 AM

OT…Ya’ll see this?

“CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Nevada employers will soon be billed an average of $25 per employee per year to cover interest on loans taken to pay out jobless benefits.

The temporary fees come after the Legislature approved a plan to pay about $17 million in interest owed on loans from the federal government.

Administrator Renee Olson of the Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation says the current balance on those loans is about $560 million.

Employers contribute to the state’s unemployment trust fund, which is used to pay regular unemployment benefits. But when Nevada’s economy tanked during the recession, the estimated $800 million in the account was quickly depleted.

Olson says Nevada has been borrowing money from the federal government since October 2009 to help pay regular unemployment benefits….”

http://lasvegas.cbslocal.com/2013/06/20/employers-to-be-billed-25-per-employee-to-refill-unemployment-fund/

workingclass artist on June 21, 2013 at 10:11 AM

On local radio this morning, a rep from the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation was warning that if this bill doesn’t pass right effing now, food prices will skyrocket. She didn’t explain how.

eon on June 21, 2013 at 9:40 AM

Real laissez-faire capitalism is evil, comrade. Crony mercantilism and corn riots for the win!

/sarcasm off

ebrown2 on June 21, 2013 at 9:58 AM

They’re gonna go up anyway.

Labor is going after the Trucking businesses.

Jimmeh Carter in the house…

workingclass artist on June 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

They’re gonna go up anyway.

Labor is going after the Trucking businesses.

Jimmeh Carter in the house…

workingclass artist on June 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

Yes, I know:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_Laws

ebrown2 on June 21, 2013 at 10:20 AM

Can you eat well on Food Stamps? Try it: Acing the SNAP Challenge

Funniest line: “While some SNAP Challenge participants opted to spend their $4.50 at expensive stores such as Whole Foods, Ferguson opted for a dollar store and a Shoppers supermarket.”

I’m guessing that if you insist on shopping at Whole Foods, SNAP will never be enough.

slickwillie2001 on June 21, 2013 at 10:24 AM

I drink Mexican Coke Cola made with sugar, it’s spendy but worth every Peso.

Bishop on June 21, 2013 at 9:20 AM

Yeah…But is it made with mexican water?

just sayin’

workingclass artist on June 21, 2013 at 10:06 AM

A few days in Phosphoric Acid will kill off any bacteria.

slickwillie2001 on June 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM

As per PJ O’Rourke, there is a lot of bad legislation out there but the someone needs to take the Farm Bill out behind the barn and kill it.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:26 AM

A few days in Phosphoric Acid will kill off any bacteria.

Actually, the other ingredients in Coke should take care of that.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:27 AM

“The temporary fees come after the Legislature approved a plan to pay about $17 million in interest owed on loans from the federal government.”

I love it when they call any tax “temporary”. What a bunch of jokesters. Laugh a minute.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

I’m reminded that a few years ago here in the Midwest we had bumper grain crops, and the local Farm Bureau called an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis. The “crisis? Federal subsidies might be cut as a result of this great year.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:31 AM

Obviously, I have nothing else to do today than comment on blogs.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:32 AM

This bill didn’t go down in flames, it went up, up in a big, greasy pork fire.

trigon on June 21, 2013 at 11:31 AM

“Let it die, Rev; Let it die!”

Another Drew on June 21, 2013 at 12:35 PM

The hysterics of an imminent food shortage are especially laughable in light of the fact that the ‘poor’ are getting so fat that obesity is now a national concern.

MelonCollie on June 21, 2013 at 12:55 PM

So, is there a plan for when this food stamp program stops? I mean the economy has come roaring back, according to O propaganda machine, more people in the work force and more prosperous than evah, so who are these food stamps for then? The illegals must be really looking fwd to becoming legal entities of sorts, all that free food…wouldn’t that be funny, they get them in under the pretext that out economy, the agrobusiness, whatever, needs them, and once they are legal, they start working part-time or heck, stop working alltogether, what with all these freebies showered on them by the gubmint…yet again the Dims prove to be very clairvoyant and forward looking…looking forward to the new 40 millions Dim votes that is :)…

jimver on June 21, 2013 at 1:03 PM

Yes, but your amnesty for $5 an hour illegal aliens is still on schedule, so…

Jaibones on June 21, 2013 at 2:04 PM

Yay for Congress! Let’s see. $2billion divided by 47% of Americans (those who need SNAP) Equals less than $12 per person over 5 years. If that’s too much “cutting”, we will never get any cutting at all, right?

Libertylea on June 21, 2013 at 2:29 PM

I love it when they call any tax “temporary”. What a bunch of jokesters. Laugh a minute.

Hucklebuck on June 21, 2013 at 10:29 AM

“The only thing more permanent than ‘emergency measures’ is ‘temporary spending’.”

- Prince Roger Ramius Sergei Alexander Chiang MacClintock, in March to the Stars by David Weber and John Ringo

clear ether

eon

eon on June 21, 2013 at 3:17 PM