Farm bill failure

It is disappointing that the latest farm bill failed to pass the U.S. House Thursday. Farmers throughout the state and the nation who need to know what the heck is happening with federal farm programs to make good decisions for their operations are still in the dark.

The bill went down by a 234-195 margin, with conservatives and liberals alike voting against it. The bill contained a $20.5 billion cut in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as the food stamp program. Democrats could not support such a large slash to that program, and President Obama had vowed to veto such a cut. Republicans could not muster the votes needed to pass it, with 62 voting against, apparently because it didn’t cut spending enough.

It is a sign of how dysfunctional Congress has become, especially the Republican caucus, that Speaker John Boehner couldn’t pass his own party’s proposal.

In the meantime, farmers continue to operate with uncertainty. They expect it from the weather, but not from Congress.

Perhaps it is time to separate food stamps from the ag bill and treat them like the different programs they really are.

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