Heritage Foundation not welcome in farm bill discussion?

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Has the ultra-conservative think tank Heritage Foundation and its lobby arm Heritage Action been banned from the Republican Study Committee’s farm bill meetings? Yes, according to reporting in the National Journal by Tim Alberta and in Thomas Driscoll’s excellent Ag-to-Go policy newsletter.

In previous farm bill debate, all the Heritage did was misrepresent itself, mislead many Republican House members and embarrass House Speaker John Boehner.

According to Ag-to-Go, Heritage recommended—to cheerleading from many conservatives in and out of Congress—that the farm part of the farm bill be split off from the food stamp part for a separate vote. Many Republicans agreed, and Heritage hinted it was on board.

One ag blogger predicted the foundation would love to split these two elements of farm legislation so they could pick off either one easily. Wait! That was me. The Republicans did pass a stand-alone farm bill that has no chance of becoming law, but what do you know? There was the Heritage Foundation working against it!

There are some things only government can do. They should do those things—well. One of those is a national food security safety net with the labor, environmental and health regulations WE want. If our food is grown somewhere else after we force our own farmers out of business, we will have much less control over all of that.

This kind of thing makes it hard to be a conservative. I really shouldn’t say “I told you so,” but—“I told you so.”



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Dr. Arnold L. Goldman    
Connecticut  |  August, 30, 2013 at 08:34 AM

Isn't the bigger question, why a welfare program is co-legislated with our overarching agricultural policy? Food productivity, safety and security are essential societal needs. Alms for the poor is a completely separate issue, and are resources and situation dependent. I never could understand why USDA was given the food stamp program, except that the word food was int he name and lots of money follows the program.....

craig    
Minnesota  |  August, 30, 2013 at 09:39 AM

There are some things only government can do. While that may be true with things like national defense, our government has corrupted everything it touches, including agriculture.

Chris    
usa  |  August, 30, 2013 at 10:05 AM

Hm...so where exactly in the constitution does it authorize the feds to take money from one person and give it to another? What does the renewable fuel standard do for for subsidizing an already hugely profitable grain corn industry? "Conservatives" like you make it hard for me to be a conservative. Educate yourself and read the constitution someday.

michael    
kansas  |  August, 30, 2013 at 11:16 AM

EXCELLENT comments Doc Craig & Chris! FB & FB blogger Hall would like everyone to forget that he's being paid to speak for His Organization (a Multi-Billion $ Insurance Co.) which, rightly so, has its own agenda when it comes to Agriculture. The status-quo of subsidies and government assistance programs is what FB pursues because, again rightly so, it is in their business interests. Heritage is an independent group with no vested interests in Ag Policy, Subsidies or other programs and speaks for all citizen/taxpayers. As such, Heritage is free to evaluate and criticize Ag legislation objectively from a National Balance Sheet point of view, not as Special Interest representatives. It is disingenous and possibly dishonest of the FB spokesman to claim a superior viewpoint to Heritage based on FB's "support" of farmers, without mentioning their self-interest. This is a complicated issue involving the self-interests of many, but also the good of the entire US. There are TWO Republican parties, in essence. The Country Club, status-quo, crony capitalists like Bohner and others. The "other" Republicans, which Mr. Hall attempts to smear with the pejorative "Ultra-Conservative", used by so many "Ultra-Liberals". Please be a bit more honest and objective Mr. Hall, when portraying the current debates inside the R Party and the useful contribution of new thinking and ideas coming from groups like Heritage. It will serve us all better.

maxine    
SD  |  September, 04, 2013 at 03:55 PM

A reasonable guess would be that Food Subsidies are included within the Farm Bill so that the true costs of feeding people who do not work can be hidden and blamed on 'fat cat farmers'. The Farm Subsidies are designed to keep farmers producing food when they do not receive the cost of production when they sell their crops. It is to keep food prices artificially low for consumers. Yes, some farmers do get unfair advantage and there needs to be better rules for the system. But how much do you want people to pay for food? It STILL is around ten percent of income. Do you realize that the Food Programs cost over 80% of the total USDA Budget? I don't raise any subsidized grain crops and believe there has to be a better system, but cannot condemn it totally when there are many worse government programs that should be repaired or replaced first. Re. Farm Bureau, the farmer members started an insurance company so that farmers could afford health insurance. How is that wrong? Jealous people are one of the worlds evils, IMO.


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