Why the Farm Bill Failed

On Friday, one of the most important pieces of legislation in Congress, the Farm Bill, which is up for renewal every five years, failed as the far right wing of the Republican Party revolted. The extremist caucus opposed the bill not for anything that was actually in the bill, but instead because they demanded that a vote be scheduled on an extreme immigration bill.

Jim Jordan led the decision to oppose the bill and stated after the bill failed, "We don’t think there should be a Farm Bill vote until we deal with immigration."

I've written about the importance of the Farm Bill before. Funding these programs for rural America is incredibly important, and funding the bill should not be thrown around like a political football. In particular you would think that the representative of a district like OH-4, which is so reliant on agriculture, would treat this process with the utmost importance. Knowing Jim Jordan, it's not much of a surprise that this is not the case.

Moreover, it's interesting that Jim Jordan has never made it a priority to become a member of the House Agriculture Committee. If he were on the committee, he could have helped shape farm policy and supported our local farm economy. But no, he’s not on that committee. Frankly, agriculture policy is not on Jim's priority list.

But as we know, Jim sure did get energized about one aspect of the Farm Bill – the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP for short. Unfortunately, Jim’s interest wasn't in assuring that hungry kids got fed. No, he pushed for radical program changes to boot families off SNAP.

Jim was able to rally Republican leadership to include his mean-spirited and misguided proposals. Despite all of that, when the Farm Bill came up for a vote this week, he and others in the so-called Freedom Caucus voted “NO” and the Farm Bill went down in defeat. It’s probably not the last chapter in the Farm Bill story, but it tells you something about Jordan.

He and his caucus were willing to blow up the Farm Bill to win a totally unnecessary fight. It’s a fight they decided to pick. They said, we won’t support the Farm Bill unless the House leadership agrees to schedule a vote on a very tough immigration bill. What do hard-line get-tough-on-immigrants rules and a hugely-costly border wall have to do with soybeans or other Ohio crops? Very little. But Jim doesn’t care. He wants what he wants. He’s Mr. My-way-or-the-highway. Unfortunately, that’s not a very effective way to get things done.

When I am in Congress, it won't be about me or my personal agenda. It will be about serving the people of OH-4 and representing their interests in our government.

Janet GarrettComment