The unfolding farm bill drama ratcheted up significantly today as Republicans suddenly showed up and Sec. Johanns issued a mid-level veto threat. The trigger appears to be a poorly disguised tax built into the legislation to fund the general Santa-Claus economics of the House Ag Committee version.
A proposal from Democratic Rep. Lloyd Doggett would help pay for $4 billion in nutrition and food stamps by taxing U.S. plants of companies owned by firms located overseas. Republicans charge the increase would endanger tax treaties and raise the cost of doing business in the United States. [More]Well, hush my mouth - Congressional conservatives are trembling on the brink of fiscal prudence and slightly smaller government. Will wonders never cease? Some conservatives are even pushing the Kind-Flake alternative (my choice, as well - the true Kiss of Death).
The conservative Club for Growth interest group is planning to include the vote on the Fairness in Farm and Food Policy amendment in the group's 2007 congressional score card. The Club for Growth calls the bill supported by House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi "disastrous." The club will distribute the score card to other members of Congress and the public. [More]As we learned with former Speakers, control of the gavel counts for about 150 votes on its own. Regardless, this looks like a campaign issue for conservatives either way it goes, if they bother to take a stand. The real wild card is the veto threat. After the vote count on the Kind-Flake amendment, we might know if Pres. Bush has any leverage.
Great - I'm on the road during this whole kerfuffle. I'll be at the Commodity Classic in Maryland tomorrow.