NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


January 4, 2008

The next time House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Leader Harry Reid talk about ending poverty, stopping giveaways for wealthy corporations and finding bipartisan solutions, remember their work on the 2007 farm bill, says the Sacramento Bee.

Before adjourning for the holidays, the Senate endorsed a $286 billion farm bill that is only slightly less wasteful and indefensible than the porkfest the House passed earlier in the year:

  • Despite a few nods at "reform," the Senate bill continues and expands subsidies for millionaire corporate farmers.
  • It undercuts growers in Africa and developing countries who are desperate to compete on a level playing field.
  • It spurs the overproduction of corn-syrup products that contribute to obesity.
  • And it represents a slap in the face to the Bush administration, which rightly urged Congress to scale back the subsidies and pass a fiscally responsible bill.

Bush and his aides have threatened to veto the current work products.  The White House contends the Senate bill includes up to $15 billion in tax increases to pay for bloated subsidies and includes other provisions detrimental to U.S. trade policies.

Reforming the farm bill should be one area where Democrats and Republicans should be able to agree.  The reform coalition includes fiscal hawks, environmentalists, small farmers, supporters of fair trade and more than 300 editorial boards across the country.

All want a bill that rewards innovation, resource protection and a more healthful U.S. diet, while limiting the waste and abuse of past farm bills.  Pelosi and Reid could still move the farm bill in this direction.  But to do so, they will have to show more courage than they did in 2007, says the Bee.

Source: Editorial, "Final chance to end subsidies for millionaires; Conference committee gives Pelosi, Reid a last opportunity to cut pork in farm bill," Sacramento Bee, January 4, 2008.


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