January 29, 2014
By a vote of 251-166, the House of Representatives today passed a $956 billion bill to fund food stamps and subsidize farmers.
This bill is substantially worse than earlier versions of the legislation, one of which had followed Heritage Foundation suggestions to split the welfare and agriculture elements.
Heritage agriculture expert Daren Bakst explains how this handout-laden monstrosity came about in The Federalist:
In negotiating a new farm bill, the House and Senate have decided the best approach to work out their differences is by selecting the worst options from each of their bills and add them together into one terrible bill…
The name “farm” bill is itself a misnomer. It’s really a “food stamp” bill since about 80 percent of its spending is dedicated to the food stamp program. Politicians are forthright about why these unrelated programs are packaged together: politics. Ranking member of the Senate Agriculture Committee Thad Cochran (R–MS) explained farm bill politics well when he argued that the farm bill includes food stamps “purely from a political perspective” since “it helps get the farm bill passed.” Food stamps and farm programs are combined together so that the farm bill gets the support of the two distinct constituencies. Urban members who support food stamps vote for the farm bill to protect their interests, and the rural members vote for their agriculture programs.
Do you think lawmakers were right to approve this legislation?