Have you ever noticed that when a headline reads “Bipartisan Effort…” is usually means “Republicans Cave…?”
It’s no different in this case, where “bipartisan efforts” get a 5 year, half a trillion dollar “farm bill” passed in the Senate. And by farm bill, I mean “food stamp” bill:
While overall spending on programs covered by the bill has climbed because more people are receiving food stamps, the committee head, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., and the top Republican, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas, said the bill would save $23 billion over the next 10 years compared with spending under the current farm bill.
That comes from replacing four farm commodity subsidy programs with one, consolidating 23 conservation programs into 13, and ending several sources of abuse in food stamps. That program is called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP.
Brilliant! Because we all know that the best way to prevent abuse of a federal program across the country is by passing a bill in Washington, DC. Never mind the fact that the program itself isn’t really Constitutional and consists of looting the property of Americans so it can be redirected where bureaucrats in the capitol think it’s needed more.
Why would we worry about silly things like the Constitutional authority of Congress to do something like this in an election year?
The Senate rejected several Republican amendments that would have reduced food stamp spending by such means as tightening up eligibility requirements.
Yeah, why bother tightening up eligibility requirements?
What a joke.
What did the Republicans get for their concessions? What was it that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saw that made him claim this was “one of the finest moments in the Senate in recent times in terms of how you pass a bill?”
The biggest change comes from eliminating direct payments to farmers whether they plant crops or not. The program, which costs about $5 billion a year, has lost much of its support at a time of $1 trillion federal deficits and when farmers in general are prospering.
That subsidy, and a separate one where the government sets target prices and pays farmers when prices go below that level, will be replaced. There will be greater reliance on crop insurance and a new program that covers smaller losses on planted crops before crop insurance kicks in.
The bill also prevents farm “managers,” often wealthy people who may not live or work on a farm, from receiving subsidy payments and gives greater help to fruit and vegetable producers and healthy food programs.
All good things, as farm bills go, but why on Earth would Republicans not insist the SNAP program be a separate bill and vote solely on farm issues? It’s good politics, I suppose. Bad policy, but good politics however, is what is destroying this country from the inside out.