The Buzz

House GOP: Divide farm bill so dysfunction is easier to see

Updated: 2013-07-09T18:27:42Z

By DAVE HELLING

Congressional dysfunction — so easily illustrated by the continuing problems with the farm bill — may get worse this week.

Several media outlets say the Republican leadership in the House has decided to split the agriculture subsidies part of the bill away from the food stamp part of the bill, and hold separate votes on each.

The farm subsidy stuff could come up this week. A food stamp vote? No one knows.

Splitting the farm bill has been a goal of House conservatives for some time. As policy, it may make sense.

As politics, though, it’s a mess. House Republicans will have to explain why they support billions in taxpayer subsidies for farmers, including themselves and some relatives, while cutting billions in subsidies for the poor.

The argument might be worthwhile if it led to a farm bill, which has stalled for almost two years. But it won’t.

A farm-subsidy bill without food stamps has zero chance of passing the Senate. A stand-alone bill that dramatically cuts food stamps also has no chance of passing in the Senate.

So there will be votes, but Congress will be no closer to an actual farm bill at the end of the week than it is today.

That’s the definition of dysfunction.

Deal Saver Subscribe today!

Comments

The Kansas City Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Kansas City Star uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here