Morning Action: Lawmakers Overestimated “Savings” in $1 Trillion Food Stamp and Farm Bill

FARM BILL.  Lawmakers overestimated the “savings” in the nearly $1 trillion food stamp and farm bill:

Savings to the federal budget from the bipartisan U.S. farm bill agreement reached on Monday will amount to about $16.6 billion over a decade, less than the $23 billion to $24 billion lawmakers had suggested, the Congressional Budget Office said.

Put another way, the Washington Post notes:

The bill would save around $1.65 billion annually overall, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The amount was less than the $2.3 billion annual savings the agriculture committees originally projected for the bill.

The House will likely pass the bill today, even though it will be a massive burden to taxpayers and maintain a flawed status quo of combining food stamp policy and farm policy for political reasons.  We are key voting against the bill, which includes unnecessary taxpayer-funded subsidies for wealthy farmers and fails to make necessary reforms to eligibility requirements for food stamps:

Once again, about 80 percent of the bill’s spending goes towards the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), more commonly known as food stamps.   There are now nearly 48 million individuals on food stamps, compared with nearly 31 million in 2008 and 17 million in 2000.  Even after the dramatic loosening of eligibility standards contributed to one in seven Americans now collecting food stamps, the conference report contains minuscule reforms.  

The Heritage Foundation explains myriad problems with the bill here and here.  Lawmakers used logrolling to force some members — who otherwise would have opposed farm bill — to feel compelled to vote to pass it, despite their legitimate concerns with the food stamp and farm policy:

The logrolling only has gotten worse with the new farm bill. The farm bill includes the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.

A Department of Interior (not Agriculture) program called Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) provides compensation to local governments to help make up for lost revenue resulting from federal land ownership (federal land generally can’t be taxed).

This program was left out of the recent omnibus spending bill, but now has been added to the farm bill.  This program is particularly important to western legislators because of the vast federal land ownership in the west.

FLOOD INSURANCE.  The Senate is expected to pass a bill delaying necessary flood insurance reforms.   We are key voting against the bill and explained:

Real reforms to the NFIP are needed now, not arbitrary delays.  Heritage explains homeowners should pay “the appropriate actuarial premium rather than subsidized rates” for flood insurance. 

SOTU.  Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint says that President Obama has acted like a playground bully:

I ask President Obama not to divide us further by acting like an imperial president.

The State of our Union will be much stronger and more united if he works with the elected representatives of the people, instead of threatening them.

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