Ugh: Senate approves farm bill, onward to Obama for signing

posted at 8:41 pm on February 4, 2014 by Erika Johnsen

We knew this calamity was coming, but I suppose I should make a note of it — if only to once again highlight the mind-numbing amount of corporate pork and top-down market manipulation that Congress just united to preserve with a casual $1 trillion legislative leviathan with more special-interest carve-outs than you can shake a stick at. Because, bipartisanship. Oh, rapture!

The Senate on Tuesday passed the long-awaited farm bill, ending two years of partisan rancor and stalled negotiations and clearing what is expected to be the last hurdle for the nearly $1 trillion spending measure.

The bill was passed with strong bipartisan support, 68 to 32. The legislation now heads to the desk of President Obama, who is expected to sign it.

“Many people said this would never happen in this environment, but Congress has come together to pass a major bipartisan jobs bill,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Democrat of Michigan and chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This effort proves that by working across party lines, we can save taxpayer money and create smart policies that lay the foundation for a stronger economy.”

Three years of “haggling” and “delays,” as the headlines are putting it, and for what? For a “landmark rewrite of commodity programs” that actually is only coming in exchange for crop-insurance subsidies that could end up costing more than their purported savings?

The current farm bill was supposed to save money. Its backers in Congress are touting the fact that the legislation cuts $16.5 billion from the deficit over the next decade, compared with simply extending previous law.

But that’s a relatively small trim compared with other proposals. In its 2014 budget, for instance, the White House had asked for farm legislation that would have saved twice as much, $38 billion — mainly by slashing payouts to farmers.

What’s more, as Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense laments, no one’s sure that those projected savings will even materialize: The Congressional Budget Office estimates that two-thirds of the deficit reduction won’t happen until after 2019 — after this bill expires — and that depends on economic assumptions that may not pan out. About the only guaranteed cut here is the $8.4 billion snip to food stamps.

And that $8.4 billion snip to food stamps? That’s over ten years, which amounts to just about one percent of the program’s total budget. SNAP’s budget has more than doubled since 2008, partially because of what Obama assured us were his economic “stimulus” efforts back in 2009; the White House and the Democrats are now fervently insisting that the economy has been steadily ‘recovering’ throughout Obama’s tenure, but for some odd reason, anything other than a total preservation of these heightened SNAP spending levels is a travesty against humanity and a sure sign that Republicans loathe poor people. I’m so confused.

Anyway. President Obama will seal the deal on Friday, taking the opportunity to offer what I’m sure will be some very delightful remarks about how the legislation will “reduce our deficits” (no, not really at all), “provide assistance for farmers when they need it most” (read: wealthy corporate agribusiness and their well-organized lobbies), and “spur the development of renewable energy” (because we evidently don’t provide biofuels producers with enough avenues for rent-seeking already). Sweet.

President Obama will travel to East Lansing, Mich., on Friday to sign the farm bill, the White House announced.

“Obama will deliver remarks at Michigan State University on the importance of the Farm Bill to America’s economy,” the White House said in a statement. …

“This bill provides certainty to America’s farmers and ranchers, and contains a variety of commonsense reforms that my Administration has consistently called for, including reforming and eliminating direct farm subsidies and providing assistance for farmers when they need it most,” said Obama.

“It will continue reducing our deficits without gutting the vital assistance programs millions of hardworking Americans count on to help put food on the table for their families,” he added. “And it will support conservation of valuable lands, spur the development of renewable energy, and incentivize healthier nutrition for all Americans.”


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When Debbie Stabenow is the mouthpiece for legislation that’s just passsed, you know it’s a piece of crap.

SouthernGent on February 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

I really hate it when Congress sees the need to “get something done”.

Bitter Clinger on February 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

One can only hope that the members of the House and Senate will choke to death on all the PORK!

GarandFan on February 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Look at this crap.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/02/01/islamic-group-tied-to-terror-trial-receiving-thousands-in-farm-subsidies/

An Islamic organization once listed by the Justice Department as a co-conspirator in a high-profile terror case is among many groups that have received thousands in federal farm subsidies, without producing any crops.

The subsidies to the North American Islamic Trust are just a slice of the questionable payments that, as has been well documented, go to millionaires and non-farmers every year. But as Congress moves to rein in the program, these subsidies stand out considering the group’s involvement in the Holy Land Foundation case of 2008. During the trial, the group’s farm subsidies stopped, only to be reinstated after a federal judge cleared them.

sadsushi on February 4, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Business as usual…

OmahaConservative on February 4, 2014 at 8:48 PM

sadsushi on February 4, 2014 at 8:46 PM

Jizyah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya

davidk on February 4, 2014 at 8:49 PM

$1.65 billion per year is like finding a quarter in your sofa. Maybe even a nickel.

rbj on February 4, 2014 at 8:49 PM

In my neck of the woods, those who come out against the farm bill(s)…don’t get elected.
I disagree w/ it-but that’s how it is.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 4, 2014 at 8:52 PM

“Unfortunately, this bill is not really a Farm Bill, it’s a Food Stamps bill with some farm provisions. “We should address the true needs of American farmers, but this bill doesn’t do that. Instead, it discards most of the positive reforms in the House bill, and it spends $352 billion more than the last Farm Bill.”

http://therightscoop.com/ted-cruz-blasts-the-food-stamp-bill-as-locking-people-into-an-endless-cycle-of-dependence/

And yes, Senator Cruz voted NO. Cruz has it right, it’s a Food Stamp bill.

The Senate passed the bill 68-32 after the House passed it last week.

bluefox on February 4, 2014 at 8:54 PM

Look at the GOP “yes” votes and you have a handful of scummy farm-state corporate crony sellouts (Idaho and Nebraska) and then the usual RINO suspects — the scum of the GOP barrel, if you will:

Crooked Alexander
Mitch McConnell
Orrin (spit) Hatch
Mark Kirk (future one-term loser)
Johnny Isakson
Saxby Chambliss
Miss Lindsey
John Farm-Ho
Thad Cochran
David “John” Vitter
Nancy Portman

Jaibones on February 4, 2014 at 8:57 PM

“No matter how cynical I get, I just can’t keep up.”

—attributed to Lily Tomlin

ugottabekiddingme on February 4, 2014 at 8:58 PM

We can`t win while they`re on the field. Time to switch out the players, even if we like them.

ThePrez on February 4, 2014 at 8:58 PM

It’s the shove the pork down the voters throats bill.

RdLake on February 4, 2014 at 8:58 PM

I haven’t checked the Roll Call Vote yet, but I’m sure a lot of Republicans that are up for re-election in 2014 voted safely (read no)

Thank you Ted Cruz for your 21 hr filibuster on Obamacare. Thanks to you we know where 25 R Senators stand, i.e. against the American people!! You can run traitors, but you can’t hide now.

bluefox on February 4, 2014 at 8:59 PM

Jizyah: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jizya

davidk on February 4, 2014 at 8:49 PM

Agreed.

sadsushi on February 4, 2014 at 9:06 PM

I need to become an Amish farmer; a waiver from DeathCare and being paid to not raise certain crops.

Either way we will all be living like the Amish soon enough.

Bishop on February 4, 2014 at 9:18 PM

I need to become an Amish farmer; a waiver from DeathCare and being paid to not raise certain crops.

Either way we will all be living like the Amish soon enough.

Bishop on February 4, 2014 at 9:18 PM

Kerosene powered computers are glitchy!

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 9:35 PM

they think we are stupid and have a short attention span. They have about half of the American public pegged correctly.

deimos on February 4, 2014 at 9:36 PM

When Debbie Stabenow is the mouthpiece for legislation that’s just passsed, you know it’s a piece of crap.

SouthernGent on February 4, 2014 at 8:44 PM

Debbie does know her crap. She’s made limiting Canadian trash coming across the borders one of her signature issues!

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 9:38 PM

One can only hope that the members of the House and Senate will choke to death on all the PORK!

If your Congressman/Senator voted for this and is running for re-election this year, vote for their primary opponent.
If by chance they get into the general, vote for somebody else.

Another Drew on February 4, 2014 at 10:04 PM

Debbie does know her crap. She’s made limiting Canadian trash coming across the borders one of her signature issues!

Yeah, well she does know trash.
BTW, anyone seen Granholm lately?

Another Drew on February 4, 2014 at 10:06 PM

Free stuff…….gotta have it.
.
Gotta get me some of that Democrat Heroin…..

FlaMurph on February 4, 2014 at 10:11 PM

Tax and spend….

… and McConnell pretends to postpone amnesty until next year after Hatch reminded him to really stick it to the taxpayers he has to get re-elected first.

viking01 on February 4, 2014 at 10:17 PM

BTW, anyone seen Granholm lately?

Another Drew on February 4, 2014 at 10:06 PM

She left Michigan before Snyder was even sworn into office and hasn’t looked back. She isn’t missed.

Happy Nomad on February 4, 2014 at 10:21 PM

Thad must have needed some campaign deal money…

d1carter on February 4, 2014 at 10:38 PM

…why is there a picture to the thread…of a chicken and a pig?

KOOLAID2 on February 5, 2014 at 12:02 AM