The Buzz

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

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


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.