Digging Out What’s Hiding in the Farm Bill
There’s a lot of talk this week about the farm bill as the Senate prepares to vote on an amendment that would work for farmers for five years. The bi-partisan legislation is expected to sail through because the majority of the bill’s 73 amendments have to do with farming. Where the bill may find hiccups in garnering “yays” from the senators is in the eight amendments that don’t have a single thing to do with farming.
When you dig deep in to the farming legislation, you’ll find that senators like Tom Coburn and John McCain have added a few hitchhikers to the bill.
For instance, Coburn (R-Okla) wants to cut federal funding to each major party’s convention after this election year and redirect those funds to trimming the bloated deficit.
And McCain (R-Ariz), who is opposed to Defense Department spending cuts, wants a study conducted on those cuts to hopefully find that those would be at the risk of our national security.
Merit-based pay raises without union authorization are being slipped in to the farm bill via the RAISE act by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla). The debate from democrats is that such a break from standing labor union laws would jeopardize other benefits of union workers.
None of those items really have anything to do with farming, and yet, they could be the few things that stand between important legislation for the farming lifeblood of our country passing or not.
There are a few others that the Washington Post pointed out that do actually seem to fit on a farming bill. For instance, Republican Senator Mike Johanns from Nebraska wants to prohibit the EPA from conducting aerial inspections of farms with drones, while Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer from California has tacked on permission for the EPA to conduct such inspections. She’s claiming cost savings, he’s calling out spy tactics.
Ultimately, we’d love to see this important piece of farming legislation pass, and have it done without the typical Washington bureaucracy and games.