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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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