Farm Bill Sham Continues

Every five years or so, we all have our food severely impacted by the ridiculous “Farm Bill”. This one has been put off for quite awhile, but now the House is working on it and say they are cutting the food stamp program to make it more fiscally responsible. It’s a sham. We should not muck up the “farm subsidy” program with the adjunct to the welfare programs of SNAP and “nutrition” programs. Getting 47 million people onto food stamps in this country took a lot of taxpayer money. Administrating those programs is an additional cost as well.

It is my contention that the Farm Bill has done just what the programmers plan for it to do. Destroy honest access to market and profitability for independent farmers and create a more deeply dependent society to put government into the place of the Almighty in the majority of people’s minds and hearts. Direct trade between farmers and consumers is the only way to restore integrity into the food system in this country. The Farm Bill will NEVER attempt to do that because it would enable people to freely exchange and profit from their labor and their products, and that just isn’t in the plan.

Anyway, I wanted to share this article with you, so perhaps you could see some of the theater behind the rhetoric.

farm subsidies

Critical Farm Bill Admission: Food Stamp Cuts Just A Means to Get to Conference

Category: Inside Congress

| November 4, 2013

Last week during the farm bill conference between the House and Senate, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)8% made a very troublesome remark:

The $40 billion figure [for House food stamp cuts] was a way to get us to conference.  It wasn’t a real figure.

This kind of admission is both disturbing and revealing.  It’s nothing new, however, that lawmakers produce legislation in conference committees that are more liberal and less conservative than the pieces of legislation they were putting together.

But were the Republican lawmakers touting the food stamp cuts in the food stamp only bill passed in September aware that they were participating in a ploy to just “get us to conference?”  Or did they genuinely believe those cuts – insufficient though they may be – would actually remain in a deal between the House and the Senate?

Many of the Republican House farm bill conferees put out press releases and statements expressing satisfaction with the cuts that would be made to the bloated food stamp program, saying that the legislation would help reduce fraud, waste, and abuse.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)61% stated:

This bill will help reduce spending and allow food stamps to be used in the way they were intended to be used:  for those who need it most.  Today’s legislation would reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, and save taxpayers almost $40 billion over the next decade.  SNAP does play an essential role in helping those in need, but the waste and abuse of this program originally designed to help the very poor has ballooned out-of-control.

In a press release entitled, “House Passes Remaining Portion of Farm Bill,” Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)60% stated:

This bill puts integrity back into the food stamp program to ensure that those who need assistance the most receive it. These reforms return work incentives to the program while curbing fraud, waste and abuse and refocusing benefits on families most in need. 

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)87% said:

H.R. 3102 includes some of the reforms Neugebauer proposed in H.R. 1510, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Improvement Act.  The bill passed today saves taxpayers $40 billion over ten years through a series of targeted reforms. 

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides critical assistance to families that have hit hard times,” Neugebauer said.  “But it was never meant to support one in every seven Americans.  These reforms won’t affect anyone who legitimately qualifies for assistance.  They will simply allow us to better target our assistance to eligible families.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)75% said:

It is critical we get the growth of this program under control by ensuring that benefits go to only those who are in need.

H.R. 3102 includes reforms totaling $40 billion in savings over the next decade, cracking down on the waste, fraud and abuse currently present in SNAP. 

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)58% stated:

The reforms included in the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act will prevent waste, fraud, and abuse within the food stamp program and save taxpayers almost $40 billion. 

Now that lawmakers have rejoined the consideration of food stamp policy and farm policy, it’s almost certain that cuts to the food stamp program will be insufficient.

The Senate’s $4 billion cuts do not do nearly enough to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.

Even the $40 billion in House cuts is only tantamount to a 5% cut in a program that has doubled twice in the last decade.  From 2008 to 2010 alone, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million to 3.9 million according to the Congressional Research Service; this was after the Obama Administration suspended the program’s work requirements.

To be clear, farm programs are in just as dire a need of reform – from the costly shallow-loss program to the sharp increase in the cost of crop insurance.

Conservatives have long argued that it is essential for food stamp programs and the farm bill programs to be considered separately if they are ever to be sufficiently reformed, so that taxpayers and consumers are no longer harmed.

Let’s see if lawmakers live up to their promises of reform or let taxpayers and consumers down yet again.

Here’s Wishing the Governent Would Permanently Shut Down…

Rep. King, one of the biggest shills for agribusiness in the US Congress, has put forth a short, but deeply expansive amendment to the incomplete Farm Bill. He proposes to trump all State regulations with Federal regs. Below is a very good article on it. Unfortunately, I don’t have much hope that the House will stop the insanity.

King Amendment to the Farm Bill Gives Feds Power Over State Regs


King Amendment to the Farm Bill Gives Feds Power Over State Regs

Touted by some as a “Tea Party favorite,” Representative Steve King (R-Iowa) has offered an amendment to the farm bill that would significantly reduce the sovereignty of states and is described by the Des Moines Register as being “focused on consolidating power in the federal government to a degree that would make members of the Politburo proud.”

The King Amendment, known as the Protect Interstate Commerce Act, takes from states the right to impose agricultural standards on products brought in from out of state.

Rather than empowering states to nullify unconstitutional federal acts, the King Amendment would, according to the Washington Times, “have far-reaching implications, nullifying a large spectrum of state and local laws concerning everything from livestock welfare to GMO labeling, restrictions on pesticide and antibiotic use, horse slaughter, child labor, fire safe cigarettes, shark finning, Christmas trees, and even the sale of cat and dog meat.”

Specifically, the measure mandates that:

the government of a state or locality therein shall not impose a standard or condition on the production or manufacture of any agricultural product sold or offered for sale in interstate commerce if (1) such production or manufacture occurs in another state; and (2) the standard or condition is in addition to the standards and conditions applicable to such production or manufacture pursuant to (A) federal law; and (B) the laws of the state and locality in which such production or manufacture occurs.

Put simply, if enacted, Rep. King’s bill would consolidate agricultural regulatory power into federal hands, taking the power from state legislatures where it constitutionally resides.

Although in many ways King has demonstrated his interest in forcing the federal beast back inside its constitutional cage, in this instance, he assumes that Washington, D.C. is better equipped than state and local lawmakers to set agricultural policy.

Many of King’s fellow lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have lined up to oppose the amendment.

Fifteen Republicans in the House sent a letter to Representative Frank Lucas (R-Okla.), chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, warning that King’s bill posed a potentially significant threat to the ability of states to set their own agriculture policies.

“The King Amendment,” the congressmen tell Lucas, “is very broadly written to nullify state laws that impose a ‘standard or condition’ on agricultural products and establish federal supremacy.”

A similar letter penned by Democratic representatives claims that “the breadth and ambiguity of Rep. King’s amendment are striking. It would nullify state laws that impose a ‘standard or condition’ on agricultural products, and has the potential to repeal a vast number of state laws and regulations covering everything from food safety to environmental protection to child labor to animal welfare.”

Grassroots activists recognize the radical revision of principles of federalism, as well. A cross-section of consumer, environmental, and animal rights groups sent letters to the entire body of the Congress calling on them to reject King’s attempt to unconstitutionally enlarge the scope of federal authority.

In the text of his legislation, passed by the House as Section 11312 of the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (H.R. 2642), King cites the Commerce Clause of Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution as justification for his enlargement of federal regulatory power. The fact is, however, that the spirit of his bill relies on the so-called “Supremacy Clause” of Article VI in its exalting of “federal law” in subsection (a)(2)(A) over state and local statutes.

The Supremacy Clause (as some wrongly call it) of Article VI does not declare that federal laws are the supreme law of the land without qualification. What it says is that the Constitution “and laws of the United States made in pursuance thereof” are the supreme law of the land.

Read that clause again: “In pursuance thereof,” not in violation thereof. If an act of Congress is not permissible under any enumerated power given to it in the Constitution, it was not made in pursuance of the Constitution and therefore not only is not the supreme law of the land, it is not the law at all.

Constitutionally speaking, then, whenever the federal government passes any measure not provided for in the limited roster of its enumerated powers, those acts are not awarded any sort of supremacy. Instead, they are “merely acts of usurpation” and do not qualify as the supreme law of the land. In fact, acts of Congress are the supreme law of the land only if they are made in pursuance of its constitutional powers, not in defiance thereof.

It isn’t apparent why King would not only go along with a substantial federal power grab, but be the author of it.

One explanation is that King believes he is doing the right thing by forcing federal standards on states in the name of controlling interstate commerce.

Judging not only from King’s depiction of his amendment, but from the support it’s received from others, the intent of the provision is to preempt restrictive state laws, such as the “California egg roll” regulation.

The “egg roll” is a California state law that requires egg producers in the state to comply with very strict hen house standards. The Washington Times reports that the regulation requires “cages large enough to allow egg-laying hens to stand and spread their wings if their eggs are to be sold within the state.”

At the heart of the King amendment and all other federal bills that impose “one size fits all” regulations is collectivism, a doctrine diametrically opposed to the federalism that lies at the heart of the Constitution.

The Founding Fathers understood that what was good policy in Virginia would not necessarily be good for Pennsylvania. In uniting to form the federal government, states retained their authority to pass laws in all but a very few, particularly prescribed areas of national interest — defense, for example.

Regardless of whether the amendment makes sense policy-wise (and there are a number of farmers who say that it does), the fact that it unconstitutionally violates the power of states to impose their own agriculture standards within their sovereign borders is not a course that should be supported by conservatives.

Federal lawmakers and their constituents who care about the Constitution and the core principles of federalism and states’ rights upon which it is founded should oppose the Senate’s adoption of the King Amendment to that body’s version of the farm bill. Not, however, because they disagree with the philosophy of the provision, but because they refuse to cooperate with any consolidation of power in Washington, D.C.


Joe A. Wolverton, II, J.D. is a correspondent for The New American and travels frequently nationwide speaking on topics of nullification, the NDAA, and the surveillance state.  He is the host of The New American Review radio show that is simulcast on YouTube every Monday. Follow him Twitter @TNAJoeWolverton and he can be reached at