Farm bill: Conferees reach a food-stamp agreement while milk, catfish gum up the works

posted at 4:01 pm on January 9, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

Congress had hoped to wrap up a five- or ten-year agreement on the fate of the farm bill last summer, well before its now-expired deadline at the start of the new year, but contention over the price tag of the federal food-stamp program — in which total enrollment has grown by more than seventy percent in the past five years alone, by the way — meant that consensus just wasn’t in the cards at the time.

The Democrat-controlled Senate was gunning for a version that cut the program by a mere $400 million annually, while the House was looking for something along the lines of between a $2 billion to a $4 billion annual cut — a range with which the White House was most definitively not on board. The lawmakers currently conferring on a version amenable to both chambers have found a number that they hope will appease both, but in the meantime, there are other and agricultural-related pieces of corporate pork kicking up their own dust. Via the NYT:

Lawmakers working on a new farm bill appear to have reached an agreement on cuts to the food stamp program, which had been the most contentious issue in efforts to pass the legislation. But disagreements over a program to help dairy producers when milk prices drop and over a catfish inspection office at the Agriculture Department have emerged as major sticking points in the negotiations, which were expected to be wrapped up this week, according to people briefed on the talks.

Those people said on Thursday that a deal had been reached to cut about $9 billion over 10 years from the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The cuts are more than twice the $4 billion approved by the Democratic-led Senate in May, but far less than the nearly $40 billion in cuts passed by the Republican-controlled House in its bill. …

The [dairy] program, which limits dairy supplies to help bolster the price of milk, is generally opposed by conservatives. Mr. Boehner and Representative Robert W. Goodlatte, Republican of Virginia, called it a “Soviet style” government bureaucracy that distorts the market.

Both the catfish and dairy programs are just different forms of protectionism for highly niche interests: The $20 million catfish inspection program is essentially a trade barrier to protect domestic catfish producers, mostly in the South, from foreign competition (and it has yet to actually start inspecting catfish), and the highly regulated and subsidized dairy market is basically a federally-sponsored racket that deters innovation and competition and helps to keep dairy prices high. Both can easily stand to be eliminated, but special interests rarely if ever go gently into that good night, and lawmakers fond of the status quo aren’t keen on the accompanying fuss. Via Politico:

House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas conceded Thursday that final action on a farm bill conference report is now likely to slip into late January — a major blow to himself and an ominous turn for the bill itself.

“It needs to be done as soon as possible but the issues are of such magnitude I can’t go until I get the issues addressed,” Lucas said. The Oklahoma Republican admitted to immense frustration — and some surprise — at the full dimensions of the standoff now between Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Lucas’s own ranking Democrat, Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson, over dairy policy.

“I don’t know that I understood how just hard the positions were by the two interested parties,” Lucas said in a hallway interview. “No one has shown any flexibility whatsoever.”


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let it linger until it dies, it is no longer about farming anyway

Maybe we should rename it ala SJL, The Transitional Living Wage and Cud Bill.

DanMan on January 9, 2014 at 4:12 PM

Catfish are gumming up the works? I wish I was a catfish.

Flange on January 9, 2014 at 4:13 PM

Free catfish and milk for everyone…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Those people said on Thursday that a deal had been reached to cut about $9 billion over 10 years from the food stamp program, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The cuts are more than twice the $4 billion approved by the Democratic-led Senate in May, but far less than the nearly $40 billion in cuts passed by the Republican-controlled House in its bill. …

Couldn’t they at least try to put some controls on it.
I swear at least every 5th or 6th person coming thru the grocery lanes are EBT potato chip, frozen pizza…..crap in a bag eating…
I better stop.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Not that it would ever happen but how ’bout cutting the program altogether. Its fraught with fraud and abuse. They could always go back to the government stores where generically packaged basic foods were doled out to the recipients.

hawkeye54 on January 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

Free catfish and milk for everyone…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

and free Ding Dongs for desert.

hawkeye54 on January 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

There is nothing Nutritious about it!
No controls, no accountability nothing.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:19 PM

I love Catfish.

Johnnyreb on January 9, 2014 at 4:20 PM

I’m actually beginning to look forward to the end of all of this. I’ve been thinking of it as something to be avoided. But, more and more, I don’t care. I just want to see the end of all this crap. The best part is going to be watching the people who just couldn’t conceive that we could spend ourselves into oblivion.

trigon on January 9, 2014 at 4:21 PM

I swear at least every 5th or 6th person coming thru the grocery lanes are EBT potato chip, frozen pizza…..crap in a bag eating…

Come to the Food Town in my neighborhood and you’d be lucky to see 1 in 6 actually pay for their entire haul. And here’s another thing about that. Do recipients get to pull out cash on their EBTs? I see this all the time.

DanMan on January 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

…what a bunch of shit!

KOOLAID2 on January 9, 2014 at 4:30 PM

I’m actually beginning to look forward to the end of all of this. I’ve been thinking of it as something to be avoided. But, more and more, I don’t care. I just want to see the end of all this crap. The best part is going to be watching the people who just couldn’t conceive that we could spend ourselves into oblivion.

The other good part, when the crisis of the “end of it all” comes, provided you’re prepared for it, is the reaction of those whose benefits, such as EBTs, are abruptly stopped. Chaos and madcap hilarity ensues.

hawkeye54 on January 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

and free Ding Dongs for desert.

hawkeye54 on January 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Betcha Colorado gets that shortly.

Kafir on January 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

DanMan on January 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I’ve got a new job, you know so I can afford groceries for my kids, that now I don’t see except for breakfast since I work at night.

I think you are more correct, it is a steady stream. I should keep a count, but that would make me even angrier.

They can pull cash off of their cards, it’s called TANF, (welfare/child custody payments) who knows what else, the feds decided to make it easier for them than waiting for a check.

Starting in February they are supposed to put more controls on it by saying they can’t use at Casino’s or liquor stores but if they get cash that means absolutely NOTHING.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Couldn’t they at least try to put some controls on it.
I swear at least every 5th or 6th person coming thru the grocery lanes are EBT potato chip, frozen pizza…..crap in a bag eating…
I better stop.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:15 PM

I’ve also seen them load up on pork tenderloins and and choice steaks while I am buying hamburger, chicken and country ribs…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 4:40 PM

DanMan on January 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

You are closer to the mark.

I have taken a job at a nights at a grocery, you know so that I can afford the rising cost of food for my kids that I don’t see now except for breakfast most days.

Anyway, yes they can take cash off the card it’s a program I just researched called TANF, the fed’s decided to make it easier to “distribute” the welfare/child support payments (who knows what else)…by just as the EBT’rs call it “loading up the card”. They are not supposed to use at Casino’s and liquor stores unless they also sell food, but when you get cash this means NOTHING.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Darn catfish, always gumming up the works.

rbj on January 9, 2014 at 4:44 PM

If Collin Peterson had an (R) after his name, all we would hear about would be how he was keeping children from drinking good healthy milk.

StargazerA5 on January 9, 2014 at 4:44 PM

Where did you get that picture! The face on that catfish looks like Jesse Jackson.

petefrt on January 9, 2014 at 4:46 PM

All I know is that the price of milk is nearly TWICE today what it was a year or two ago.

Used to buy two-gallons at Costco for $3.49 or thereabouts not so long ago (year or year and half ago for a long time, that was the price), now it’s OVER SIX DOLLARS for same package.

Whatever Congress is doing, they’re doing it wrong.

I don’t have the luxury — yes, luxury — of using “Food Stamps” and groceries continue to go up and up and up and nary a help does Congress create except for those on the dole.

Lourdes on January 9, 2014 at 4:47 PM

DanMan on January 9, 2014 at 4:25 PM

I’ve tried to answer you 2 times I must be in moderation?
I didn’t even swear.

The answer is yes they can, look up tanf it’s a fed “distribution” method makes it easier than cutting a welfare or child support payments, no controls.

Omaha,

I have stories that would make your blood boil.
I work at a grocery at night now so I can afford the rising cost of food for my kids that I only see at breakfast now since I work in the evenings and they are in bed before I get home. I Love my hubby’s he’s picking up the slack, I am very fortunate.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Did anyone hear today how Reid refused (blocked, rejected, whatever) the effort by Congress to prevent illegal aliens from using (exploiting is more like it) the Earned Income Tax Refund?

It’s the source of billions of fraud, proven, acknowledged, yet Reid won’t consider “plugging that hole”.

Lourdes on January 9, 2014 at 5:00 PM

Related:

Sharron Angle calls Harry Reid “the best friend an illegal alien ever had”

Lourdes on January 9, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Sorry, error, that’s a link to an old article. I’ll find a current one…

Lourdes on January 9, 2014 at 5:03 PM

Here’s the issue to which I refer (earlier two comments), from an October 2013 article, that was recently attempted by the GOP to repair but Harry Reid thwarted correcting/repairing the problem.

IRS Gives Billions in Illegal Refunds: Harry Reid Says This is “Just Fine”

Lourdes on January 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Betcha Colorado gets that shortly.

Kafir on January 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Smart entrepreneurs are opening pastry shops next door to the pot shops….

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:05 PM

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Yeah, I have seen a lot, but I bet you have seen more. Nothing will beat the welfare queen I saw buying crab legs for Christmas Dinner on her ebt card. She had enough gold bling on to blind me, and wheeled her cart out to a newer Mercedes…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

and free Ding Dongs for desert.

hawkeye54 on January 9, 2014 at 4:16 PM

Betcha Colorado gets that shortly.

Kafir on January 9, 2014 at 4:32 PM

Why skip the middleman, someone here linked this earlier today.

http://visiontoamerica.com/16568/colorado-to-accept-ebt-cards-for-marijuana-from-welfare-recipients/

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

You don’t know how hard it is for me not to say something that would get me fired.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:17 PM

So Boehner is showing some backbone over the dairy program. If only he showed the same when it comes to amnesty, er, “immigration reform”.

Bitter Clinger on January 9, 2014 at 5:28 PM

Yeah, I have seen a lot, but I bet you have seen more. Nothing will beat the welfare queen I saw buying crab legs for Christmas Dinner on her ebt card. She had enough gold bling on to blind me, and wheeled her cart out to a newer Mercedes…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Oh you guys. Don’t you know that a “welfare queen” is a myth and just hinting about it makes you racist?

cptacek on January 9, 2014 at 5:32 PM

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 4:48 PM

Yeah, I have seen a lot, but I bet you have seen more. Nothing will beat the welfare queen I saw buying crab legs for Christmas Dinner on her ebt card. She had enough gold bling on to blind me, and wheeled her cart out to a newer Mercedes…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Story from my mom: Several years ago my mom, who was already living on social security and pension, drove my half-sister (my dad’s kid) to the grocery store, cuz she was living on welfare, in subsidized housing, and had no car. They separated to do their shopping and then met back up at the deli counter. My mom, who was buying cheap stuff to stretch her dollar, noticed my half-sister was loading up on high priced meats and seafood. So Mom asked her what the hell she was doing buying that stuff with food stamps. The answer – “It’s not my money, so why shouldn’t I have the best?”. My mom lit into her about that being precisely why she didn’t deserve to “have the best”.
That is the attitude I’ve seen of these lifelong moochers who EXPECT their handouts and really believe they deserve the very best of whatever they want.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:33 PM

Milk & Catfish – worst gum flavor ever.

DamnCat on January 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

Yeah, I have seen a lot, but I bet you have seen more. Nothing will beat the welfare queen I saw buying crab legs for Christmas Dinner on her ebt card. She had enough gold bling on to blind me, and wheeled her cart out to a newer Mercedes…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:14 PM

But that’s really not a new phenomenon. I saw stuff like that all the time when I was a grocery bagger in high school – in the 70s.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM

You don’t know how hard it is for me not to say something that would get me fired.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:17 PM

Oh, believe me, I know. I called the crab-queen a leech out in the parking lot and she called me a racist…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM

Oh you guys. Don’t you know that a “welfare queen” is a myth and just hinting about it makes you racist?

cptacek on January 9, 2014 at 5:32 PM

But that’s really not a new phenomenon. I saw stuff like that all the time when I was a grocery bagger in high school – in the 70s.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:38 PM

My experience was all with white people, in a small town in Maine that had very few minorities.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Milk & Catfish – worst gum flavor ever.

DamnCat on January 9, 2014 at 5:35 PM

I’d take that over Bertybot’s ear wax or vomit flavored jelly beans….

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:40 PM

My experience was all with white people, in a small town in Maine that had very few minorities.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Doesn’t matter. Still racist.

(/ if that makes it clearer)

cptacek on January 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:33 PM

EXPECT is the word, they are entitled you know, income equality….
It is truly scary how young most of them are. It’s and endless cycle and there’s is no stigma about it any longer. They have no shame.
While an actual disabled man in a wheelchair struggled to pay cash for his food.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Doesn’t matter. Still racist.

(/ if that makes it clearer)

cptacek on January 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

LOL. Ya I know.
I understood – I just thought I’d throw that out though.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Yup.
No shame and when you really think about, I’d say no (real) self-respect – but dam sure LOTS of entitlement attitude and “I deserve it” – when they really don’t.

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:44 PM

I have a question, why do we even have food banks anymore? The USA is just one big foodbank.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

I have a question, why do we even have food banks anymore? The USA is just one big foodbank.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:47 PM

Because some of them sell the ebt balance for fifty cents on the dollar and use the cash for cigarettes, booze and crack…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM

Because some of them sell the ebt balance for fifty cents on the dollar and use the cash for cigarettes, booze and crack…

OmahaConservative on January 9, 2014 at 5:51 PM

And big-@ss shiny ghetto rims for their Caddy….

dentarthurdent on January 9, 2014 at 5:53 PM

Bye for now, I’m off to pick up my kids. Haven’t seen them virtually all week.
I’m off tonight. Turning off the Computer.

MontanaMmmm on January 9, 2014 at 5:57 PM

Meet the hypocrites who rule

Schadenfreude on January 9, 2014 at 6:28 PM

In the year 2013 the budget for the Department of Energy was 23.3 BILLION; this was started by President Carter to get us off foreign oil over thirty years ago and we keep paying the DOE for not doing their job every one of those years. Defund the DOE and pump our own oil.

mixplix on January 10, 2014 at 3:26 PM