Conservatives Face Down the Farm Bill

Kevin Glass

7/8/2013 9:30:00 PM - Kevin Glass
House Republicans rejected a wholesale re-authorization of the gargantuan farm bill a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, that's not the end of the saga; the farm bill still contains vital policy choices that must be made. The Hill reports that, behind the scenes, a split is emerging among Republican legislators:

Behind the scenes, the fight over the bill is pitting House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) against Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.). While Cantor wants to divide the bill and cut more spending, Lucas wants to keep it intact with only modest changes.

Splitting the bill would risk breaking apart the urban-rural coalition that has ensured passage of farm spending for more than four decades. Conservative activists believe breaking the alliance would allow them to slash two sources of wasteful government spending.

More than only splitting the bill up, Republican policymakers want to give individual states more latitude in administering the SNAP program - the Hill writes that Democrats considered giving states the ability to tie work requirements to food stamps a "poison pill."

Then there's direct payments, energy policy, price supports, and other pieces of agricultural and economic policy all tied up in the massive farm bill. These are important issues that conservatives can't and shouldn't shunt aside. Meaningful reform of the entire farm bill process might actually be possible this time.

Watch Ashe Schow of the Washington Examiner talk with me about some of the specifics of the farm bill and its processes here: