Just today, House of Representatives Republican Minority Leader John Boehner announced that the House Republican Leadership would oppose the 2007 Farm Bill passed by the House Agriculture Committee last Thursday. From the Republican Leader's e-alert:
"In a sneak attack on American working families, House Democratic leaders have revealed they will pay for new spending in the 2007 farm bill by imposing a new tax increase that threatens more than 5 million American jobs..."Their commentary:
This is big, big news. The Democrats are facing a serious fight within their own party over the farm bill, and by no means will Democrats vote unanimously for the bill. The Democratic leadership will certainly require Republican votes to pass a farm bill, perhaps a fairly substantial number of them. If the Republican leadership actively tells its members not to vote for the Agriculture Committee's farm bill, it will be difficult for a farm bill to pass. The type of amendments offered and approved on the floor could easily affect those votes, and this development alters the politics of the floor process. In fact, there is already speculation that the floor process, scheduled for tomorrow, will be postponed to deal with this.Meanwhile, the White House is threatening to veto it.
A large part of the problem, apparently, has to do with funding for nutrition programs, including the increase in minimum food stamp benefit I wrote about a few days ago. In order for the $4 billion worth of programs to be implemented, offsets had to be found; the Ways and Means Committee has been considering sources for that funding. When Committee member Lloyd Doggett (D-TX) proposed paying for nutrition programs by taxing overseas businesses with U.S. subsidiaries, that's apparently when all hell broke loose.
So now the whole Farm Bill is in danger. It's supposed to go to the floor tomorrow-- we'll see. This gets more and more interesting.
[Update]: Mulch is running frequent updates on today's Farm Bill blow-up over funding for nutrition programs. There are apparently a lot of international corporations who deeply object to Rep. Doggett's proposal.