D.C. Watch: House plays farm bill blame game

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The fallout from the defeat of the farm bill in the House of Representatives continues.

Politicians from both parties are playing the blame game, but no one is clear on what happens next.

 Congress is in recess, next week and there is a (slim) chance that the House leadership will bring the bill back to the floor in July, after tempers have cooled. Then the House could vote on the same bill again, add more food stamp cuts to win the approval of more Republicans or reduce the food stamp cuts to get more Democrats to vote for the bill.

The House could simply bring the bill passed by the Senate to the floor for a vote, but that, too, is highly unlikely.

Many observers say Congress will just have to pass another extension of the 2008 Farm Bill. But the Majority Leader says that wouldn’t pass in the Senate. So for now, the farm bill will probably get pushed to the back-burner until looming deadlines make it enough of a “crisis” again.

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Steve Savage    
Encinitas, CA  |  July, 01, 2013 at 10:58 AM

Maybe it is time for Congress to stop doing things in big, "comprehensive" bills. Much of what is in the farm bill might be better addressed in small bits that stand or fall alone one their own logic. Is it time to modernize milk-related law? Do we want to encourage things like no-till? Do we need price supports in years with strong commodity prices? Do we need excellent crop insurance options in an age of climate change? What should be the nature of our safety net in terms of nutrition? Do we need guest workers for agriculture (um, yea!!!). All of these are sufficiently complex issues to deal with one at a time. It would also give lawmakers less cover if they don't have logical reasons for their vote. Maybe there was a time when the caliber of statesmanship was such that complex laws made sense (I doubt it), but that is certainly not the case today

VA  |  July, 02, 2013 at 09:06 PM

The House has a majority party, so it can pass any bill if that party wants it. If it does not pass I cannot understand how they could blame the other party, except as political theater. Am I missing something?

Colo  |  July, 03, 2013 at 05:22 PM

Wally, how do you think Congress has an approval rating of 9%? They earned it, specifically with political theater. Between filibustering in the Senate, and not allowing bills to be introduced on the floor of the House, Congress has successfully shot itself in the foot. Oh yeah, let's don't forget all the manufactured crises, like the "fiscal cliff", for example.

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