Is Agriculture Leadership Trying an End-Run?

Today, a coalition of 20 free-market and conservative groups, including CEI, sent a letter to Speaker of the House Boehner urging him to ensure there is an open process for considering a farm bill separately from nutrition programs. The House agriculture leadership agreed to split commodity programs from the food stamp and nutrition programs, after the combined bill was voted down on June 20.

But ag leaders want the bill brought to the House floor under a closed rule — with no amendments to be considered. In addition, the leadership wants the 1949 permanent farm bill to be replaced with the new bill. That is, whenever a farm bill isn’t enacted or extended, the law would revert to the 2013 bill instead of the 1949 law.

The coalition letter stated:

The purpose of splitting the agriculture and nutrition pieces was to change the political dynamics that conspire to prevent true reform. If the House pushes through agriculture-only language taken directly from the combined bill that failed on the floor last month without amendment, it will not only fail to change those dynamics, it will actively preserve them.
In doing so, the Republican-controlled House would be advancing an agriculture bill that is substantially worse on policy grounds than the legislation produced by the Democrat-controlled Senate. For example,
the House language includes no means-testing whatsoever for crop insurance while the Senate reduced subsidies for those with incomes over $750,000. In addition, the so-called “shallow loss” programs in the House bill are poorly structured and likely to cost dramatically more than official estimates.
The letter ended urging the leadership to have an open process to debate the farm bill and to have amendments considered.