“The farm bill itself became practically a sideshow, despite its importance to agriculture and the significant changes it would institute to food stamp programs.” WAPO, 5/18/18. The first job of the majority party in Congress is to govern and Paul Ryan’s House of Representatives has repeatedly failed — this morning’s vote is just another example. Republican’s anti-immigration wing used this massive bill as a bargaining chip to prevent a vote of reasonable immigration reform and because Republican leadership refused to negotiate to get any Democratic votes, leadership’s gamble in putting this to a vote was a devasting failure when the radical right caucus refused to budge.
Meanwhile, he’s why Democrats unanimously opposed the bill:
- Work requirements for food stamp recipients. Perhaps not a bad idea, but Republicans never got beyond the ideology to a real way to implement the program. Without real methods to make work available to food stamp recipients, hundreds of thousands of low-income recipients would lose their $125 per month grocery benefit. This would hurt not only them, but the grocery industry.
- School lunch nutrition. Another example of “if Obama did it, it must be bad,” but numerous studies have shown that the nutrition regulations have improved childhood nutrition. But the Republican bill would have authorized the Trump Administration to repeal the Obama-era regulations.
- Crop subsidies. The Republican bill would have expanded payments to corporate farms and distant relatives of farmers.
- Conservation: Farms are a significant source of erosion and pollution so, for decades, the Agriculture Department had funded programs to help farmers address these issues. The Republican bill would have cut that back.
There are more reasons, but these are enough to oppose the bill, are they not? Republicans refused to discuss any compromises with Democrats so when their party had a rebellion on a side issue, they couldn’t get anything done. #RememberinNovember