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FARM BILL & SUGAR SUBSIDIES - FRAN SMITH
Don’t look now, but here comes the farm bill, one of those catch-all legislative behemoths littered with wasteful programs and supported by entrenched special interests. The bill comes up for reauthorization every five years and is a lobbyist’s dream — impacting everything from farm subsidies to food safety — and industry and interest groups are working furiously to protect their sacred cows, so to speak.
Given the inability of Congress to agree on much — and the fact that this is an election year — most observers give a new farm bill little chance of passing. Rather, it’s likely that Congress will kick the can down the road by passing an extension of current law. Wasteful spending on unnecessary programs will continue, and an opportunity will be missed — hurting U.S. consumers, taxpayers and workers. > View the full commentary on DailyCaller.com
HIGHWAY BILL - WILLIAM YEATMAN
By a 293-127 vote, the House of Representatives yesterday adopted a short-term extension of the federal highway bill. Fourteen Republicans voted against it, while sixty-nine Democrats voted for passage. The original highway bill, known as the Safe, Accountable, Flexible, Efficient Transportation Equity Act: A Legacy for Users, was enacted in 2005.
Yesterday’s action was the 10th extension passed by the House since the original SAFETEA-LU surface transportation law expired in 2009.
The House’s bill would extend highway funding for 90 days. In March, the Senate passed a bill that would extend it for 2 years. Next, House and Senate leaders from both parties will convene a conference committee, through which they’ll try to hammer out compromise language acceptable to both Congressional chambers.
Alas, it is extremely likely that little good will come of the Conference, at least with regards to transportation policy.
ALEC & STAND YOUR GROUND LAWS - HANS BADER
The pro-free-market American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is under fire for its support of self-defense laws, known as “Stand Your Ground” laws.
The campaign against ALEC is an attempt to drive the marketplace out of the marketplace of ideas. ALEC’s critics and the Times complain that it is partly “corporate funded.” Strangely, ALEC’s critics have no problem with the fact that ALEC’s liberal cousin, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), is government-funded. It makes little sense to allow the government to lobby for more largesse and immunities for itself (which can happen through NCSL), while blocking corporations — which are associations of persons — from lobbying. > Read the full commentary & legal analysis at Openmarket.org