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House GOP to Split Farm Bill in Two

Frankly, it’s about time.

House Repub­li­can lead­ers have decided to drop food stamps from the farm bill and are whip­ping the farm-only por­tion of the bill for a vote that will likely come this week, accord­ing to a GOP lead­er­ship aide.

The nutri­tion por­tion of the bill would be dealt with later.

The Rules Com­mit­tee is expected to post the text Tues­day night and meet Wednes­day, the aide said.

The “new” farm bill would be the bill as it fin­ished on the floor before the break, with the addi­tion of a repeal of the 1949 law that requires the pas­sage or exten­sion of a farm bill.

Rory Cooper, a spokesman for Major­ity Leader Eric Can­tor, R-Va., said lead­er­ship has not yet decided to sched­ule a vote.

There has been no deci­sion made to sched­ule a vote on a farm bill, in any form,” he said in a state­ment to CQ Roll Call.

House Agri­cul­ture Chair­man Frank D. Lucas said Tues­day morn­ing that he would sup­port split­ting the farm bill — as long as it can pass the House.

I’m will­ing to do what it takes to get a farm bill done,” Lucas said as he exited a Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence meet­ing Tues­day morn­ing. “If that means doing it uncon­ven­tion­ally, maybe we got to give it a try.”

Asked whether it was fair to say he sup­ports split­ting the farm bill, the Okla­homa Repub­li­can replied: “It’s fair to say that Chair­man Lucas is at a point where he has got to look out­side the box, and split­ting the farm bill is cer­tainly out­side the tra­di­tional box.”

While all the head­lines are about the split and the impact on the SNAP, (food stamps) head­lines, per­haps the biggest news out of this is the repeal of the 1949 law.  Those who know any­thing about this country’s Ag pol­icy will tell you that this is the law which says that the Con­gress must come back every 5 to 6 years and pass a new farm bill, or the nation reverts back to New Deal Era farm policy.

Oh, it won’t solve every­thing at once, (*couch* Milk Mar­ket­ing Orders *cough*) but it will make sure that if a future Farm Bill isn’t passed on time in the future, the time frame resets to a much more mod­ern agri­cul­tural economy.

As for the rest of the pol­i­tics behind it, this is smart on the GOP’s part.  All those who have been clam­or­ing on the Left about the need for a farm bill — when in actu­al­ity they’re truly talk­ing about the food stamp pro­vi­sion — will have to put up or shut up about what’s going on.  Also, it ends the decades’ old mar­riage of rural GOP Con­gress­man giv­ing a nod-wink to urban Demo­c­ra­tic Con­gress­man while each other bled the fed­eral trea­sury dry in a cock­tail of farm sub­si­dies and food stamps.

This strat­egy, might actu­ally get us a real bill that does real good for America’s farm­ers, not agribusi­ness conglomerates.

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