A loyal reader writes today:
"Now the fun begins in earnest." He cites this article:
Today, Agriculture Committee Ranking Republican Bob Goodlatte offered a motion on the House Floor to instruct conferees not to agree to any provisions that increase taxes in a final farm bill agreement. This motion sets the tone for the conference committee as it moved forward in negotiating the differences between the House- and Senate-passed farm bills. Six Republican Members of the House Agriculture Committee, plus a member of the Republican Leadership, were named to the official conference committee (names included below). The motion to instruct passed by a 400-11 margin demonstrating the bipartisan belief that taxes do not belong in a farm bill.My question: What if legislators have been in earnest all this time?
Last summer, after earning bipartisan support in the Agriculture Committee, a variety of tax increases were added to the House farm bill causing the majority of Republicans to withdraw their support of the bill. The Majority has since removed the tax provisions and pledged not to add any further tax increases. [More]
I have noted the frustration and impatient anger in farm editorials over the farm bill. The implication is legislators have just been foolin' around and playing games. That level of contempt for legislators doesn't strike me as the way to open many new doors on Capitol Hill.
I think the "frustrated" are not only dead wrong - they are the entire problem. Congress has been working as hard on the farm bill as any other legislation. But the powerful special interests in agriculture will not brook deviation from their demand: money the way (and amount) we want it, when we want it, and nothing else.
No mention in those caustic criticisms of compromise. No, no - theirs is the language of pure entitlement (They are pretty sure it's in the Constitution somewhere that 8 crops get lots of money - only in fancy-schmancy language).
If farmers really, really needed a farm bill in order to grow (oh yeah - that's really holding up our planters), maybe they better decide what they will give up to get one. In fact, since there is no evidence of cooperation from farm payment recipients, no sense of panic - just a petulant hissy-fit, I think it is fair to say this farm bill is chump change that we can ignore until we have time to fuss about it occasionally.
We've done plenty of "demanding". How's that workin' for ya?