Saturday, May 19, 2018

GOP Farm Bill Failed For Lots Of Reasons, But Few Have Anything To Do With Agriculture


Yesterday, ever single Democrat-- even the Blue Dogs-- voted against the GOP Farm Bill, Michael Conaway's Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018. The bill failed, H.R. 2, 198-213 because 30 Republicans voted against it, a weird combination of Freedom Caucus extremists and mainstream conservatives who didn't want to see food stamps cut 5 months before an election. Oddly, even Paul Ryan voted against it! (Western Wisconsin dairy farmers are going bankrupt at an unprecedented rate-- and so are suicides among family farmers. As usual, Ryan's top priority-- only priority-- was tougher work requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The two biggest dairy counties in Wisconsin are Clark and Fond du Lac, where Trump beat Hillary, respectively, 63.8% to 31.2% and 60.8% to 34.0%. From the Wisconsin State Farmer: "As the dairy industry struggles with low prices in the face of a long-mounting milk glut, more farmers are finding that their woes are escalating. Over the spring of 2017, a pricing dispute with Canada, Wisconsin's large export market, along with ongoing fears of additional trade issues, have helped crystallize what is turning out to be a serious crisis in dairyland... The fallout from the dairy industry's woes has included a rise in farmer suicides. It's contributing to a growing public health crisis, as farmers overall are aging and suicide is among the leading causes of death for middle-aged men."

Wisconsin Republicans Sean Duffy, Glenn Grothman, Jim Sensenbrenner, and Mike Gallagher all voted for a farm bill that would make life worse for Wisconsin farmers.

In the end, the bill was tanked by far right extremists Mark Meadows (R-NC), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Scott Perry (R-PA) who were bitching about the direction an immigration bill is moving which isn't radical enough for them. But more mainstream Republicans say the tactic will backfire on the neo-fascists in the caucus.
The bill’s failure, some Republicans predicted, will cause a backlash against the Freedom Caucus agitators by compelling more GOP lawmakers to endorse a procedural gambit, known as a discharge petition, that would force floor votes on four separate DACA bills against the wishes of Republican leaders.

The Freedom Caucus opposes the discharge petition, and have sought ways to sink it.

Denham said their actions on Friday will instead make his lobbying effort easier.

“Given the breaking of the agreement that was made today, you’re going to see more Republicans that are frustrated and angry enough to sign on to something that they’ve never signed on to before,” Denham said after the farm bill failed.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-FL), a senior member of the GOP whip team, agreed.

He said Republican leaders had, in fact, delivered a warning to recalcitrant lawmakers in the lead up to Friday’s vote: Oppose the farm bill, they said, and the discharge petition will gain steam.

“Don’t be surprised if there’s a discharge petition that comes out as a result of this, because I think there are a lot of members on my side of the aisle concerned that they are not relevant anymore,” a visibly frustrated Ross said after the vote.

“I think you’re going to see some members on the Republican side who are more inclined to do a discharge petition in order to at least get something done.”

...Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), who sponsored the discharge petition that would force votes on Denham’s resolution, said two Republicans approached him on Thursday to say they’re ready to endorse the petition, though he did not know when they would do so.

At least two House Democrats are withholding their support for the discharge petition, citing concerns that the effort will lead to new construction of President Trump’s border wall.

Curbelo said he’s hoping those Democratic holdouts will change course and sign the petition, but predicted their support ultimately won’t be necessary to reach the 218 mark.

“We’re not too worried about that because we think we’ll get more than 25 [Republicans],” Curbelo said.

The immigration and agriculture issues have become entwined in recent weeks, after the leaders of the Freedom Caucus-- notably Reps. Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Jim Jordan (R-OH)-- threatened to withhold their support for the farm bill unless Ryan solidified a vote on a conservative immigration proposal, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Although the Goodlatte bill lacks the support to pass the House, conservatives want an opportunity to vote on it, perhaps with amendments. The legislation adopts a hardline approach to immigration reform, boosting interior enforcement and reducing even legal immigration.

“We need to figure out whether we can [pass] Goodlatte as is, or amend it,” Meadows said Thursday. “If that doesn’t work than we know that we have to go with some other option.”

The two groups huddled Thursday night in Ryan’s office in the Capitol, where GOP leaders offered the conservatives a vote on the Goodlatte bill in June. The offer didn’t satisfy some members of the group, however, who wanted to vote on the immigration bill before moving to the agriculture package.

“It was not fully clear,” Meadows said of the leadership offer.

That argument hasn’t appeased Denham, who said he’s agitated with fellow Republicans who “asked for a concession, got the concession, and then took down [the farm bill] anyways.”

“They had asked for a date certain [to consider the Goodlatte bill], and they gave a date certain... It was [a deal] good enough until about 10 minutes before the vote,” Denham said, adding that the agreement is now off.

“If you break an agreement I assume you no longer get what you agreed to. They had gotten their vote, that they had asked for, and we gave them a date. Now they’ve changed their minds. So I would expect that agreement to be null and void, at this point.”
And, obviously, trouble for farmers isn't just in Wisconsin. Listen to the NPR piece about Iowa farmers below. And the Trump economy isn't just moving along and bringing catastrophe for farmers either. Mortgage interest rates rose to their highest in 7 years... and headed up. It had to happen. Without even understanding it at all, Trump has been basking in the glow of Obama's economic achievements... while tearing them apart. That's coming back to bite him in his fat sagging ass-- and to bite the rest of us too, as the regime's economic policies start kicking in. The first victims will be people who drive cars-- as the Trumpanzee foreign policy drives up gas prices-- and people who want to buy homes... and cars.

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At 9:34 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

And this is a congress Paul & his leadership crew who promised to wipe the slate clean for the country i think not.

At 1:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the question is why the kochs don't like the bill. ryan has only them to please since he doesn't rep WI-01 any more.

Also, WHAT fucking obamanation economic achievements? I'm sick and tired of hearing ignorant fools on the left tout obamanation's economic achievements. There were none.

All he did was NOT intervene in the private sector nor with the fed nor with banks nor with corporations (the last 2 giving him a billion in gratuities). What he DID do was foist more FTAs on the labor and environmental sectors. And, believe me, he SHOULD have DONE a lot more, especially early in his 7.5-year hiatus from 'public service'. But doing nothing was lucrative... and easier.

At 2:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Almost all bills that the Nazi party attempts to pass are motivated all or most by hate. Greed even has taken a back seat to hate in this congress after the tax cut was passed.

Even forming bills to vote on that would force the 'craps to look bad or worse isn't happening. This is truly a weird congress.

Not since ACA, a bill to subsidize and deregulate health insurance corporations disguised as a health "care" thing, has congress been so openly unilateral in their motivation.

The high wire that the Nazis keep trying to walk is how to legislate the most possible hate while not losing any of their Nazi-leaners among the unaffiliated. Their math said that killing 30 million by denying even health insurance is too much hate. But they're still playing with the formula. Farmers and DACA number fewer, so they can be ratfucked, especially in the pursuit of trump's trade wars and berlin wall, which are issues that truly engorge his base.

At 5:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WHAT fucking obamanation economic achievements?"

How about that "moderate 1985 Reagan Republican" standing between Wall St and the torches and pitchforks so as to allow trickle-down to restart without interference? What else could POSSIBLY justify that $65 million book advance for a tome of lies that I have yet to see on the bookstore shelves?

At 6:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course. But I was using the same implied POSITIVE (from the perspective of all BUT the oligarchy) "achievements" that the author intimated.

Naturally, he achieved his own (and the oligarchy's) aims (billions for the DxCCs and DNC, his own campaigns and his lie-berry AND his book advance). Naturally.


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