NY Times: Opposition to House Farm Bill Spans Political Spectrum
By Ron Nixon
As the House prepares to vote this week on a new five-year farm bill, advocacy groups from across the political spectrum are lining up to oppose it, threatening to derail legislation that died last year when leaders refused to bring it to the floor.
The groups include a litany of conservative and libertarian mainstays like Americans for Prosperity, the American Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute and the National Taxpayers Union. Some liberal groups oppose the bill in its current form, including the Environmental Working Group, the National Black Farmers Association, the United States Public Interest Research Group and Defenders of Wildlife.
The House bill would save nearly $40 billion in agriculture spending over the next 10 years, with half of the cuts coming from a food stamp program. But the groups say the 1,000-page bill amounts to a nearly $1 trillion giveaway to wealthy corporate farmers, with price supports for crops that distort the market and insurance subsidies that all but guarantee farmers’ income.
Americans for Prosperity said it had begun a grass-roots campaign with paid advertisements calling on Republican and Democratic House members to oppose the farm bill. It said the effort also included e-mail and social media campaigns, phone calls and two online videos that target a bipartisan list of representatives in 15 House districts, including Speaker John A. Boehner, Republican of Ohio, and Representative Collin Peterson, Democrat of Minnesota, who is the ranking member on the House Agriculture Committee.
“The 2013 farm bill has become little more than a vehicle for massive welfare spending and taxpayer-funded corporate cronyism,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “Americans deserve better than this kind of government overspending and waste, and we’re going to make sure their voices are heard in Washington.”