I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them. — George Mason, during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

Farm Bill Provides Republican Opportunity

June 24, 2013   ·   By   ·   0 Comments

farmOn June 20, the $939 billion so-called “farm” bill — it should really be called the food stamp bill with 80 percent of it is dedicated to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — went down in flames in the House of Representatives, failing by a vote of 195 to 234. The reason?

62 House Republicans found the cuts to food stamps, amounting to just $2 billion a year for an $80 billion a year program, to be simply too small. House Democrats, on the other hand, thought they were too much, and were also upset with an amendment to the bill that would have allowed states to increase work requirements for receiving food stamps.

Turns out when you try to please everybody, you end up pleasing nobody. In the meantime, the program is still growing out of control.

Since 2009, the amount of individuals on food stamps has soared by 15 million to 47 million on the heels of the deep recession and high unemployment, but also a 2008 sweeping expansion of eligibility for the program. That’s a 46 percent increase in the program in just four years.

For comparison, the population has only grown by 3 percent in that time to its May 2013 level of 315.7 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

In 2012, Republicans routinely bashed the Obama Administration for the dramatic expansion of the program, at least implying they intended to rein it in and reform the program. Now, with the first farm bill since 2008, the House had — and still has — an opportunity to make good on its word.

The question is what lesson House Republican leadership has drawn from the farm bill’s failure. Was it that the legislation failed to attract enough Republican support? Or enough Democrats?

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor might have an answer. “I’m extremely disappointed that Nancy Pelosi and Democratic leadership have at the last minute chosen to derail years of bipartisan work on the Farm Bill and related reforms,” he said after the failed vote.

So, Republicans were counting on Democrat support — not their conservative caucus — to get the bill across the finish line, implying the goal never was to rein in the program.

Cantor further suggested that any differences between the bills, including the state-determined work requirements, would have been worked out in conference. Is that to suggest that any conservative provisions would have been simply gutted in conference?

Leaving that aside, if a conference was inevitable, what need was there to reach a “bipartisan” compromise in the House version? Why not pass something that was pleasing to the House majority to begin with?

It’s not as if the version they attempted to pass would have had a chance in the Senate anyway, despite the fact there was so little difference between the two versions. The House version would spend about $75 billion a year on food stamps, the Senate $77 billion. That’s a distinction without much of a difference.

Which is why the 62 House Republicans who broke ranks with their leadership, holding out for real reform, are to be praised. If not for their courage, the GOP would be missing yet another opportunity to take on the welfare state.

As Americans for Limited Government Vice President of Public Policy and Communications Rick Manning noted after the farm bill’s failure, “It is time for Congress to begin considering what is in the best interests of taxpayers instead of constantly doling out corporate subsidies and expanding welfare without question.”

Indeed. It is time to stop rubberstamping these government programs. It is time to take a stand.

Note: Reader comments are reviewed before publishing, and only salient comments that add to the topic will be published. Profanity is absolutely not allowed and will be summarily deleted. Spam, copied statements and other material not comprised of the reader’s own opinion will also be deleted.

Similar Posts:

Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of Americans for Limited Government (ALG) News Bureau. Americans for Limited Government is a non- partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms,private property rights and core American liberties.
Robert Romano
View all articles by Robert Romano
Print Friendly

Clip to Evernote

Featured Articles

Image of Paula Deen taken as part of a public relations campaign for the nonprofit group Civitan.(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The Story of Paula Deen: She Once Said the “N” Word

Carrie K. Hutchens

The story of Paula Deen remembered ought not be "only" that she did use the "n" word once upon a time, but rather, that she admitted to it and took responsibility, unlike Hillary - Holder - IRS - the Government et al. It's not something that we often see. I guess now we know why.


In Defiance of the Marriage Act

Guest Author

Days from now, our country will be celebrating an America that its founders would barely recognize. Freedom, Alexis de Tocqueville once said, requires virtue. Today, the U.S. Supreme Court made it clear that the pillars of both are under attack. By a single vote, five unelected justices determined that they know better than God and struck at the heart of marriage in America.


The Breathtaking Dissent of Justice Scalia

Bob Ellis

In case you missed it, Rush Limbaugh provided a quick summary of some of the highlights of Justice Scalia's scathing dissent to the idiocy the U.S. Supreme Court majority tried to pass off as "justice" today with regard to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).


All Hail the Government God

Bob Ellis

Great column today from Ben Shapiro at TownHall.com. As he examines today's schizophrenic and self-destructive U.S. Supreme Court decisions concerning marriage, Shapiro sees this attitude from the Left as simply one symptom of the mindset which sets up the state as god--and replaces God.


Pretended Legislation Through Assault

Bradlee Dean

This morning, the Supreme Court once again usurped their authority by committing an abomination when unlawfully wading outside of their jurisdiction and meddling with the God-ordained definition of marriage. A 5-4 ruling has overturned key parts of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act). The Supreme Court also dismissed an appeal made by 7 million people of California who twice voted to ban homosexual marriage in their state (Prop 8), claiming their appeal “has no standing.”


Other News

Other Commentary

Featured Blogs

"We don't intend to turn the Republican Party over to the traitors in the battle just ended. We will have no more of those candidates who are pledged to the same goals as our opposition and who seek our support. Turning the party over to the so-called moderates wouldn't make any sense at all." - Ronald Reagan, Nov. 10, 1964