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.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.
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]