Heritage blasts House GOP for passing farm bill

“Supporters of this farm-only farm bill wasted the golden opportunity that separation could have provided: the ability to promote policies that benefit taxpayers, farmers, and consumers in a fiscally responsible way,” Heritage wrote on its website. “With the passage of this bill, the House has gone even further to the left than the Senate bill. It would spend more money than Obama on the largest farm program, crop insurance.”

The bill that passed Thursday will make farm commodity programs permanent, and more difficult to reform in the future.

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“In fact, [Republicans] made this new bill even worse — by making sneaky changes to the bill text so that some of the costliest and most indefensible programs no longer expire after five years, but live on indefinitely,” Heritage continued. “This means the sugar program that drives up food prices will be harder to change, because it doesn’t automatically expire. It also means the new and radical shallow loss program that covers even minor losses for farmers will indefinitely be a part of the law.”

Heritage also took issue with the way the legislation was brought up for a vote.

Last month, the bill failed in an embarrassing floor defeat for Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), that left many questioning his leadership. Boehner raised Thursday’s farm bill without a new amendments process and without giving it the customary time for lawmaker review. The Speaker argued that it was basically the same bill from the month before, with only a few sentences removed.

“On top of all this, the process House Republicans used to get this 600-plus-page bill to the floor in a mere 10 hours essentially violates their own promise to conduct business in an open and transparent manner,” Heritage wrote. “They prohibited legislators from introducing amendments. And, they played a game of bait and switch by claiming this bill was the same text from the failed House farm bill of a few weeks ago.”