Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), the Chairman of the Republican Study Committee, defined the strategy for the Farm Bill would be not to pass the five-year legislation that was approved in a bi-partisan basis in the House Agriculture Committee and to have the Congress to agree on a short-term extension … and to “Wait for the reinforcements and let’s fix it next year.”
Hmmm … time will tell if this is good strategy as the currently the House is “on vacation” failing to address the Senate bill that it had approved in June and the the existing farm bill expired Sunday. The House proposal would have saved $35 billion over 10 years.
This was not lost on one Member of the House … Steve King (R-IA) who went to the floor to implore his colleagues before they began their “vacation” :
I came to this city this week to make that point over and over again, Mr. Speaker. We need to move a farm bill out of this House of Representatives. And I recognize that procedurally, at this point, as I stand here tonight, that is an impossibility under the rules of this House. So the best that we can hope for is to bring a farm bill to the floor as soon as we come back after the election.
I’ve asked the Speaker to do this. I’ve asked the majority to do this. I’m working closely in direct cooperation with the chairman of the Ag Committee, Frank Lucas of Oklahoma, who has done a stellar job on bringing a good bill out of committee and preparing it for floor action. He was an utter maestro in putting that bill together, and the work that was done by the chairman and many others, including Ranking Member Peterson, Democrats and Republicans, resulted in a bill coming out of the Ag Committee that only had 11 “no” votes, and it was a bipartisan support for the bill. The opposition was also bipartisan, but it was only 11. So whatever the bar was, however high it was, we’ve cleared the bar.
We need to bring a bill to the floor. We need to provide that kind of stability and predictability to the ag community so that they can plan next year’s crops and plan their lives.
What comes out of this House and out of this Congress and is signed by the President affects land prices, equipment purchases, land sales, farm rentals, the whole configuration, a lot of it is looking down on this farm bill.
So let’s get it done.
Hmmm … I hope you caught that a bill passed out of committee in a bi-partisan manner 35-11 and Steve King, a Republican, praised Minnesota Congressman Collin Peterson, a DFLer. $35 billion just left on the table as Congress passed a continuing resolution (CR) that essentially keeps federal funding on autopilot through March 27, 2013 … with farmers wondering what will happen … and Who Should I Vote For ?
So Jim Jordan won … and the DoNothing Congress went on vacation … and now, the polls indicate that Steve King, who won in 2010 with 66% of the vote, is now facing a serious challenge from Christie Vilsack — who is closing the gap in this Republican-leaning district, holding the incumbent to a 48 percent – 45 percent King margin. Not only is the race competitive electorally, but the voters here are starting to turn on Representative King personally and doubt his effectiveness in office.
The strategy of “delay and wait for more to join the House TEA Party Caucus” is getting old … and Larry Sabato, who forecasts via the
Crystal Ball website, rates Iowa’s Fourth District as Lean Republican … just a notch below Toss-up.
Minnesotans would not be surprised that Mr. Sabato’s Crystal Ball has Raymond Cravaack’s (R-MN-08) seat as a Toss-up … but may be surprised that John Kline (R-MN-02) and Michelle Bachmann (R-MN-06) are not rated “SAFE” … instead just “Likely Republican” … rather shocking since both have won prior contests with ease … the Crystal Ball lists the remaining five seats as Safe.
Mr. Sabato’s Crystal Ball describes the situation :
Given the nature of the House — where many races are likely to be close to the end and where reliable polling is relatively scant, compared to Senate or gubernatorial races — our projections are bound to change, perhaps dramatically, in the last seven weeks before the election.
“Dramatically” may be an understatement.
So when Chairman Kline and wanna-be Presidentress Bachmann defend themselves and attack President Obama, let us remember a few things :
#1. The Republican-controlled House has done nothing … and despite all their verbal trashing, more jobs have now been created than lost since President Barack Obama took office which means the U.S. has created a net 125,000 jobs since President Obama was inaugurated … a message that they will shift to claim that it should have been more … but that is difficult when the House refuses to consider President Obama’s American Jobs Act, which would have cut payroll taxes for workers and employers, provided aid to states for schools and emergency workers and invested in public-works projects.
#2. The Republican-controlled House has approved the Ryan Budget plan which will require major cuts in domestic programs and additional spending for Defense that even the Pentagon did not want … which prompted Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to rebuke Paul Ryan.
#3. The Republican-controlled House is committed to redefining Medicare and other programs that citizens have paid for and plan on for their retirement … and are committed to tax cuts and retaining corporate subsidies. As SmartMoney notes :
Paul Ryan’s plan calls for collapsing the income tax rates into brackets, 10 and 25 percent, which represents a cut in the highest marginal rate. The House-approved plan proposes making up the lost revenue by eliminating unspecified tax breaks.
The key finding as determined by the Tax Policy Center analysts is that (once tax breaks to encourage saving are off the table – such as preferential rates on capital gains; tax preferences for retirement, health and educational savings accounts; exemption of interest on state and local bonds; the exclusion of capital gains in home sales; etc.) the total value of the tax breaks that these taxpayers are now enjoying (i.e., the amount that could potentially be eliminated under the proposed tax changes – deductions for charitable contributions, mortgage interest and state and local taxes, and exclusions of health insurance and other fringe benefits from income) is smaller than their gain from the rate cuts.
As a result, the arithmetic requires that part of the burden for the high-income rate cuts shift onto middle- and low-income taxpayers.
#4. The Republican-controlled House has been consumed by social issues … ranging from “redefining rape” to repealing the Affordable Care Act even though the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), taking ObamaCare off the books would cost the government a net $109 billion over 9 years.
#5. The Republican-controlled House played “games” with raising the “debt-ceiling” and overwhelmingly rejected (223-16) the Bowles-Simpson Deficit Reduction plan (yes, every Minnesota Republican voted against Bowles-Simpson) … the end result is a credit downgrade and impending fiscal cliff.
Voters will be asking themselves: do we want to provide the House Republican Leadership more reenforcements to obstruct problem resolution or do we want problem-solvers … let’s ask Mike Obermueller and Jim Graves (as well as Rick Nolan and Brian Barnes) if they think the House should be on “vacation” or in-session addressing our nation’s fiscal problems.