Friday, August 03, 2007

Not a thing of beauty...

As Jim Weisemeyer has been telling us, this is one ugly farm bill process. My perspective is skewed because I find little to love in the existing farm policy, but regardless, the political maneuvering has been byzantine. I'm sure all bills are to some degree, and hence my fondness for as few laws as possible.

Here is an insight into how Speaker Pelosi managed to pass the House version.
The more serious threat to the handiwork of Pelosi and farm state lawmakers lies elsewhere.

For example, some on Chairman John Dingell’s Energy and Commerce Committee felt blindsided by air quality provisions in the final bill. Staffers pored through unfamiliar tomes on agricultural law after they learned late in the game that the measure contained a new provision allowing California farmers to use funds in the Environmental Quality Incentive Program to meet state and local clean air rules. EQIP has been mainly a clean water program. Air quality is firmly under the jurisdiction of Dingell, who didn’t earn his nickname “Big John” by demurring to turf raids by other committees.

The big losers in closed-door deal making that went on in Pelosi’s office until the wee hours last Thursday morning were the oil and gas industry and the crop insurance industry. Their lobbyists were caught short, but there is plenty of time for them to regroup as the bill goes to the Senate and then to a final House-Senate conference. [More]
Many in agriculture don't care how it happens as long as the final product arrives. But my take is all those lobbyists aren't there to make sure I get money - they are there because they will get money.


Anonymous said...

No John,wrong again. I have lobbied hard for people like you. The benefits derived from this farm bill to the ag sector are the direct result of farmer/lobbiest like me sent to DC to protect our turf. If you don't want your share I will give you my bank account info and you can direct deposit. TIA.

John Phipps said...


I did not make my point clearly. Without unnecessary farm policy, we wouldn't need lobbyists at all. The job would shrink/disappear.

Besides, it remains to be proven that subsidies are actually good for farming. I refute the presumption that getting a check from Washington is per se a good thing.

In fact, I submit it is at best ineffective and at worst, damaging to the people and profession of farming.