Christine Harbin Hanson

A better and more accurate way to measure Farm Bill spending is to look at the CBO baseline plus new funding outlays over five years. Using this figure, we see that the 2013 Farm Bill spends more than ever. Over five years, inflation-adjusted actual spending on the 2002 and 2008 Farm Bill came in at $257 billion and $427 billion, respectively. Projected spending on the recent Farm Bill conference report exceeds this—over the same period, the deal comes in at $489 billion in total spending.. That’s twice the size of the 2002 bill.

This most recent Farm Bill reauthorization presented Congress with an opportunity to control federal spending and cut the corporate welfare in farm programs. Unfortunately, Chairman Lucas, Chairwoman Stabenow, and their colleagues in Congress failed to achieve any fundamental reforms in the food and farm programs in the conference report. Instead of enacting reforms now, they merely kick the can further down the road. Unfortunately for American taxpayers, they’re locked into another 5 years of broken Farm Bill spending before Congress gets another shot at reform.


Christine Harbin Hanson

Christine Harbin Hanson is the federal affairs manager at Americans for Prosperity, a nationwide grassroots organization. Follow her on Twitter at @HarbinHanson.