Farm Bill Fail

Here’s a bit of good news:

Opposition by Democrats to huge cuts in the food stamp program helped lead to the defeat of the House farm bill on Thursday, raising questions about financing for the nation’s farm and nutrition programs this year.

The vote, which was 234 to 195 to defeat it, came a year after House leaders refused to bring the five-year, $940 billion measure to the floor because conservative lawmakers who wanted deeper cuts in the food stamp program would not support it.

I’m torn — on the one hand, passing the farm bill was such an important benchmark of competency for Speaker Boehner that I’m tempted to chortle over such an abysmal failure. But on the other, less immature hand, the farm bill as it was constituted was a travesty, with the massive cuts to food stamps being just the most conspicuous example.

I think I’ll go with chortling.

55 replies
  1. 1
    kindness says:

    Democrats should vote against it. They didn’t cut any of the aid to Corporate Farms in this Farm Bill. They only cut the food aid to the poor.

    I wish Obama would veto it when it hits his desk, but I know he won’t.

  2. 2
    MattR says:

    @kindness: Reread the first line John quoted.

  3. 3
    EconWatcher says:


    I think the thrust of the story is that it will never hit Obama’s desk, because if failed in the House. Josh Marshall has some interesting analysis up by Brian Beutler, suggesting that this is yet another sign (as if more were needed) that Boehner won’t be able to deliver the votes on an immigration bill.

    I’ll take my popcorn without butter, thanks. I’m trying to drop a few pounds.

  4. 4
    Linda Featheringill says:


    It won’t get to Obama’s desk. It didn’t get out of the House.

    This was a terrible piece of legislation. I’m rather pleasantly surprised that the House voted it down. That means some Republicans voted against it.

  5. 5
    BGinCHI says:

    Didn’t someone also put in an amendment that would allow states to drug test food stamp recipients?

    I’m sure this will get covered by the MSM as a blow by the Dems to America’s heartland.

  6. 6
    IowaOldLady says:

    Good. I hope Steve King’s constituents call him up and scream.

  7. 7
    BGinCHI says:

    @Linda Featheringill: They probably thought it still had too much food stamp money in it.

  8. 8
    RosiesDad says:

    Chortle is good. Hearty guffaw out loud is even better. The amount of pork given to Big Agra and Corporate Farms as well as to farmers who are wealthier than the average American (not all farmers by any means, but certainly a significant number of them fit this bill) far outweighs the meager amount of assistance to food insecure families.

    Boehner, like the rest of his pathetic caucus, is a phony, a hypocrite and a clown. He can pound salt and should.

  9. 9
    Yatsuno says:

    @BGinCHI: Too much food stamp money = any food stamp money. But don’t you dare cut Monsanto’s cut of the federal pie because jerb creators gotta get their hookers and blow.

  10. 10
    Josie says:

    @MattR: This was a post by Elias Isquith, not John Cole.

  11. 11
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kindness: You are absolutely right that Obama will not veto it. I feel betrayed.

    Oh, wait. No, I don’t. The bill was defeated.

  12. 12
    MikeJ says:

    Boehner is pissed because he knew it would require Democratic votes to pass. When Obama told the Dems he would veto it, they voted against it. The Hill said:

    Republicans had expected Democrats to deliver 40 votes for the bill. But a GOP aide said at the last moment, Agriculture Committee ranking member Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) said they could not produce that many because of pressure from Democatic leaders and the White House, which had threatened to veto the bill over the food stamp cuts.

    In other words, go fuck yourself, “kindness”.

  13. 13
    ruemara says:

    @MikeJ: I thought Obama was going to sign it, which gave everyone a sad sammich. Pre-emptively signed and thrown under the bus, we were.

  14. 14
    MattF says:

    Well, OK, bad farm bill dies. But what happens to the food stamp programs:

  15. 15
    EconWatcher says:


    Say what you will, I have a certain affection for Boehner.

    He seems like an old-school, slightly corrupt, but basically OK guy who would rather just cut some ethically questionable deals, get some work done, and then play 18 holes at the club half-schnockered. I can understand a guy like that; even like him a little.

    But the dude is saddled with a chamber full of screaming ideological hyenas, one of whom (Cantor) just can’t wait to sink his fangs into Boehner’s behind at the slightest opportunity. What kind of life is that? They should really just move cocktail hour up to 11 am or so.

  16. 16
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    What makes this bill even more annoying is that corporate farms are not just the main beneficiaries of subsidies and price supports, they’re also the main beneficiaries of the government’s generous subsidization of crop insurance.

    The only good part of the bill was that an amendment would require disclosure of subsidy recipients including those who get crop insurance subsidies.

    Now those who still watch the nooz will be treated to Republicans bewailing the cruelty of the Democrats to the sturdy yeoman farmers.

  17. 17
    Rommie says:

    I chortle at the whining about Nancy SMASH kicking them in the junk. Did the mean lady make you look bad again? Awww.

  18. 18
    MattR says:

    @Josie: Nice job me :)

    EDIT: Sorry Elias, and welcome back. Hope you didn’t take it as an insult.

  19. 19
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    @EconWatcher: I put extra virgin olive oil on my popcorn – it’s even better than butter and much healthier. Boy, this was the HOUSE bill, not the Senate bill, and Boehner couldn’t even get it through his own chamber. What an epic fail. No way immigration reform gets through that monkey house of a legislative body. And sorry for insulting you, monkeys.

  20. 20
    Linda Featheringill says:


    I’m not sure what is going to happen with the food stamp programs. I expect some sort of continue-as-before-in-lieu-of-a-new-bill. But I don’t know.

  21. 21
    David in NY says:

    Christ on a cracker — Obama did threaten to veto this bill as @MikeJ: says.

    Actually, that threat is just about the riskiest thing Obama has ever done. (Are there others?) I mean, if there’s a sacred cow (so to speak) in Congress, it’s the farm bill, and Obama said he’d kill it. I’m surprised

  22. 22
    IowaOldLady says:

    I could be wrong about this, but my understanding is one reason the Farm Bill is a sacred cow is that it’s one of those old-fashioned deals meant to give something to everyone. Congresscritters from non-farm states vote for it because their constituents need the food stamps. Cutting those disturbs the balance and makes them more likely to vote no. As we see.

  23. 23
    MikeJ says:

    Want to reform SNAP and have fewer people receiving government aid for food? Raise the minimum wage. Hell, introduce a minimum weekly wage so scum employers can’t move everyone to part time to avoid benefits.

    When employers pay people enough that they can buy food fewer people will need assistance from their government.

  24. 24
    kindness says:

    @Linda Featheringill:

    I’m rather pleasantly surprised that the House voted it down. That means some Republicans voted against it.

    62 Republicans voted against it but the majority of those voted against it because it didn’t cut food aid enough.

  25. 25
    MattF says:

    @kindness: Right. Also, according to TPM, a last minute right-wing amendment lost the conservative Dems who might have voted for it.

  26. 26
    ruemara says:

    @Linda Featheringill: I think there will be a continuing resolution. those are the duct tape of legislatin’.

  27. 27
    Chyron HR says:

    @David in NY:

    Yeah, but Obama’s a big fat liar. He’s probably going to take the bill and sign it into law even though it didn’t pass, because he hates the Constitution so much.

  28. 28
  29. 29
    BGinCHI says:

    @kindness: Maybe read the thread before you post.

  30. 30
    Peter says:

    The Farm Bill has been a continuing disaster for as long as can be remembered, and this iteration is particularly heinous, so I’m not sad to see it fail.

  31. 31
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Food and farm subsidies need to end, for reasons that are neither covered here nor in the media. I realize that this isn’t a recognition of that necessity, merely just another incident of bungling by the Tan Man and the Flying Monkey Party, but I’ll take what I can get.

    The days of cheap food are coming to an end, folks. Get ready.

  32. 32
    David in NY says:

    @Chyron HR: Well, yeah, I failed to account for that

    .@IowaOldLady: I always thought that actual farmers liked food stamps as well (increasing the market for their goods), so they were a win-win program. Maybe I’m wrong, or maybe things have changed, or maybe most of the Republican party is deranged, or some combination thereof.

  33. 33
    Belafon (formerly anonevent) says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: Farm subsidies, yes. SNAP and related programs, no.

  34. 34
    El Caganer says:

    Remember those golden days of yesteryear when the economy tanked and people were talking about economic stimulus? And how the consensus was that SNAP benefits were one of most effective forms of stimulus, because they generated immediate economic activity? How come we’re not hearing that now? There are probably more people receiving SNAP than ever.

  35. 35

    @David in NY:

    Actually, that threat is just about the riskiest thing Obama has ever done. (Are there others?)

    Bin Laden raid.

  36. 36
    kindness says:


    Maybe read the thread before you post.

    I was expressing my opinion. And really BJ isn’t where I get all my news. I don’t really get that that many of you here disagree with what I said. I think I’m actually the norm.

    btw – I did read it.

  37. 37


    When employers pay people enough that they can buy food fewer people will need assistance from their government.

    Spoken like a DFH. Who are we to argue when The Invisible Hand decides that people should starve?

  38. 38
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    Farm subsidies, yes. SNAP and related programs, no.

    @Belafon (formerly anonevent): Not my point but that’s OK. I should have guessed my statement would be taken that way.

    It would behoove every single reader of this blog to start researching “food security”. SNAP and other programs aren’t going to do shit to help anybody when there’s not enough food, and that day is coming faster than any of us will like.

  39. 39

    @El Caganer:
    Because Tom Brokaw decided that kids today are too coddled and the poor need to make sacrifices. That’s good enough for everyone on television and damn near everyone in newspapers.

  40. 40
    BGinCHI says:

    @kindness: I just meant that you were repeating stuff that had been said already.

    Never mind.

  41. 41
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @kindness: I, for one, was reacting to the suggestion that Obama was going to sign a bill that died in the House especially when Obama’s signal that he would veto it led to it dying in the House. Seemed odd.

  42. 42
    ruemara says:

    @kindness: If you read it, how could you miss that it failed? And if you had heard the news about it, how did you miss the veto threat? It was out at least yesterday.

  43. 43
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    If you read it, how could you miss that it failed? And if you had heard the news about it, how did you miss the veto threat? It was out at least yesterday.

    @ruemara: It didn’t read shit. It’s just trying to save face. Frankly, that’s one of the most entertaining trolling failures I’ve seen in quite a while.

    PROTIP: Do a minimal amount of research before trolling. I know the lure of FIRST! is a hard one to resist, but you’ve got to be ready for the opportunity when it comes, not just leap in there hoping that everything’s going to roll your way.

  44. 44
    kindness says:

    Who knew this was gonna create a food fight? I figure that outside the trolls most of us are close to the same page.

  45. 45
    LAC says:

    @kindness: YAY!!!! YOU WIN!!!! The prize for not reading a blog but rushing a comment in and making sure that an Obama jab is in it today is………….a COOKIE!!!! YAY!!!!!

  46. 46
    kc says:

    It makes me happy when Democrats act like Democrats.

  47. 47
    kc says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    SNAP and other programs aren’t going to do shit to help anybody when there’s not enough food, and that day is coming faster than any of us will like.

    When will that day arrive? Should I start stockpiling? Oy, what a pain in the ass.

  48. 48
    kindness says:


    wtf man. Sad. I’m sorry you have sad little lives and like to go out and create hell in blogs but it doesn’t matter to me really. I’m happy. My life is good. I feel good about myself, my family and life in general.

    But man….Instead of tossing off stuff on others try creating something good on your own. My initial comment in no way went against the article, yet some of you….what ever. If this is what it takes to get your kicks…..more power. Won’t change how I feel.

  49. 49
    Mike in NC says:

    Aren’t there a bunch of scumbags in Congress, like Michele Bachman, who rake in big bucks from these Farm Bill travesties?

  50. 50
    LAC says:

    @kindness: tiny violin…check…words and music to “My heart will go on” …check…

    Jayus, you made the mistake and it is not our fault that your gonads are flapping in the wind. Just read next time….

  51. 51
    Lurking Canadian says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: Everybody needs to sacrifice except those who already live a life of sybaritic luxury and power that would have stunned the gods of Olympus. Those people probably need lower tax rates.

  52. 52
    David in NY says:

    @Roger Moore: good point. I’m trying to think if the list is longer.

  53. 53
    fuckwit says:

    @EconWatcher: I have no sympathy for rich assholes who are out to fuck over the poor, and who don’t do their fucking jobs, either out of pure incompetence or malice, doesn’t matter. He has a fucking six-figure salary and a private jet to take him anywhere he wants to go. Meanwhile the poor are starving. Fuck him.

  54. 54
    fuckwit says:

    @MikeJ: Minimum weekly wage is the best thing I’ve heard in a while.

    How about, a guaranteed minimum income, from the federal government? Wouldn’t be enough to live well on, but enough to not starve.

    Pay for it by taxing wealth, not income. This is what they do in Yurp: you’ve got money in the bank? Liquid assets of any kind? It gets taxed at a flat rate. No deductions, no games, no nothing. The rich pay. Consistently, good years and bad, as long as they have assets. You have a good year, some windfall income, you hit lotto? No problem, you don’t get killed on taxes that year. You just pay every year as long as you have it.

    We have not gone anywhere near where we need to be to have a just society, hell, even to have a society at all.

  55. 55
    Xenos says:

    @Forum Transmitted Disease: At the peak of the Irish Potato famine Ireland was a net exporter of food. Expect to see that scenario to repeat itself somewhere before you expect to see too many middle class Americans go hungry.

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