Farm Bill Defeat Signals Trouble for Immigration Reform
by Rob Bluey, Heritage Foundation, June 21, 2013
Members of Congress are listening to you.
Yesterday the U.S. House rejected a nearly trillion-dollar food stamp and farm bill — an important victory for taxpayers and a stinging rebuke for the Washington establishment.
Sixty-two Republicans bucked their own party to vote against the bloated bill. Coupled with a large bloc of Democrats (including Hanabusa and Gabbard) who wanted more spending on food stamps, the bipartisan opposition was enough to sink the measure. It’s unclear if or when House leaders will bring the bill back to the floor for a vote.
Remember, there are no permanent victories in Washington. But this is one for conservatives to celebrate as a win for taxpayers and a reaffirmation of fiscal responsibility.
Rejection of the farm bill also has significant implications for the debate happening on immigration reform. As senators continue to play political games to justify their support for amnesty, conservatives in the House will no doubt look to the farm bill debate as an indication of what can happen when the American people are informed and engaged.
Nearly a year ago, Heritage Action CEO Michael Needham and Representative Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the unholy alliance between food stamps and agriculture policy must end.
Congress failed to take that advice, preferring to stick with the status quo. The farm bill was not only loaded with expensive programs and subsidies, but it would have also locked in President Obama’s massive expansion of spending on food stamps.
Stutzman, a fourth-generation farmer from Indiana, commented after the vote:
Hoosiers sent me here to change the way Washington works and I’m pleased that my colleagues have joined me in rejecting the old path of business as usual. While it might have been called a ‘Farm Bill,’ the American people understand that it was anything but.
Lawmakers now have a chance to get it right. They would be wise to refocus their efforts on real reforms to our antiquated farm policy and food stamp program. That begins by splitting the farm bill into separate legislation on agriculture and food stamp policy.
Taxpayers have seen enough wasteful and reckless spending come out of Washington. They are tired of the backroom deals and political grandstanding.
The immigration debate playing out in the Senate exemplifies the worst of Washington.A “gang” orchestrated by liberal Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has developed a plan that would cost taxpayers trillions and ensure more illegal immigration in the future.
As the debate moves to a critical stage, senators are considering a border-security amendment that has Obama’s blessing. It won’t fix the legislation. Any bill that guarantees amnesty — as the Gang of Eight’s does — fundamentally undermines efforts to secure the border. Yet some Republicans appear eager to endorse a weak border-security plan now for the political cover to support amnesty later.
But not if you have anything to say about it.
Earlier this week, thousands of tea-party activists rallied on Capitol Hill. Many were there to send a message on immigration. Watch our short video below to see how conservatives are standing up to be heard.
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