$1 trillion farm bill could see a vote this week
If you like boondoggles, you'll love the latest version of the farm bill that may come to the floor of the House for a vote next week.
They've been trying to pass this monstrosity for three years and have failed because it is ruinously expensive and maintains wasteful subsidies and anti-market principles on prices. But the bill has apparently satisfied most of the GOP leadership and will come to a vote sometime next wee:
It said that Monday could feature a conference meeting to vote on unresolved issues or a Republican conference meeting to sign the conference report. Either scenario would lead to a bill being filed with the Rules Committee by Monday night in order to allow a Wednesday vote under the House three-day layover rule.
Final issues in the farm bill have included how to structure dairy subsidies and how to deal with payment limits for subsidy and loan deficiency payments to farmers.
On dairy, both sides are trying to find a way to provide profit margin insurance without including limits on production that Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) adamantly opposes.
A compromise being worked on could include using insurance premium increases to discourage the kind of overproduction that can cause milk prices to crash and insurance payouts to spiral upward.
On payment limits, the House and Senate-passed bills lower caps on farm subsidies and tighten what critics like Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) call a massive loophole that currently makes the caps meaningless.
Under the pre-conference bills, individuals can receive no more than $50,000 in subsidies and $75,000 in loan deficiency payments on marketing loans. For a couple, that adds up to a $250,000 cap.
In addition, the bills look to close the "actively engaged" loophole, which allows farms to add multiple managers, each able to receive subsidies up to the limit, to expand the cap. The reforms would require actual labor to receive subsidies.
The House and Senate bills have differing eligibility limits on crop insurance premium support, with the House barring those individuals with an adjusted gross income of $950,000 and the Senate setting a limit of $750,000.
Not very family-farm friendly as you can see. This is a taxpayer giveaway to corporate farmers who don't need subsidies - especially as generous as these. They encourage over production which drives prices down and makes smaller farms less profitable.
There are also some surprising subsidies, as listed by Heritage.
Most of that $1 trillion is for the SNAP (food stamp) program. Urban Democrats insisted on including food stamps in the popular pork-laden farm bill to ensure its funding. Since there's something for everyone, the bill is likely to pass with ease.