Farm Bill Failure Blamed on Tea Party

The impending failure of the House of Representatives to pass a new farm bill is being blamed on fiscal conservatives and Tea Party representatives who are unwilling to compromise on nutritional subsidies and social safety nets, some political insiders say.

Four months ago, the U.S. Senate, in a rare display of bipartisanship, passed their version of the 2012 Farm Bill in a 64-35 vote. Their draft of the bill reduced farm spending by roughly $20 billion, strengthened crop insurance, and removed direct payment farm subsidies.

The House of Representatives, however, did not take action on this version of the farm bill and House leadership chose to block and delay action on the House Agriculture Committee’s draft of the farm bill.

Political insiders and aides in the House say that Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor were unwilling to bring the farm bill to the floor for fear of a revolt by fiscal conservatives and members of the Tea Party.

According to these sources, a significant portion of the Republican caucus was unwilling to approve a $1 trillion spending bill that did not include deep cuts to food stamps and nutritional programs. Faced with this level of reluctance from members of the House GOP, Boehner would be forced to pass a new farm bill with support mostly coming from the Democratic Party, something he would prefer not to do in the middle of an election year.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer