Friday, July 12, 2013

Last Call For The Half-Grown Farm Bill

Jon Bernstein asks "What did Orange Julius actually get out of a Farm Bill with no SNAP funding?"

The story, here, is that the original House version of the bill failed when an amendment was adopted which cut SNAP (food stamp) funding, meaning that it lost Democratic votes, while Republicans deserted the bill anyway because it was still too high-spending for them. The leadership "solved" that by splitting the bill and going for a GOP-only 218, and after (reported) heavy lobbing, they got over the bar.

What's not clear to me is whether John Boehner is better off with this thing passing. As Ed Kilgore notes, it's not real likely that anything can come out of conference that can pass. It's not really clear, right now, if the separate nutrition bill can pass. It's not clear what Boehner had to promise to conservatives about conference to get them to stick on this vote. It's not clear what the next step is.

It's clear what the next step is if you assume SNAP is nothing more than 47 million hostages the Tea Party can take.

It seems to me that Boehner did have another choice. If the GOP-only farm-only Farm Bill fails, then maybe he can push the mainstream of his conference to support a bipartisan bill, leaving the conservative fringe out entirely. It won't work on everything, but on the Farm Bill, it really might. Maybe. And if it works on the Farm Bill and there's little fallout, that might strengthen Boehner's ability to gather different coalitions on the next tough one that comes up.

Sure.  And then it becomes another regular battle over SNAP that the House can then use for leverage.  Poor people are just bargaining chips.  They don't matter, and they aren't a majority Republican constituency.  They're poor people.  Screw 'em.

Bobo Gets Lucky On The Dice

Visually-impaired squirrel named David Brooks, meet the tasty acorn of immigrationyou stumbled across by complete accident.

It’s beginning to look as though we’re not going to get an immigration reform law this year. House Republicans are moving in a direction that will probably be unacceptable to the Senate majority and the White House. Conservative commentators like my friends Bill Kristol and Rich Lowry are arguing that the status quo is better than the comprehensive approach passed by the Senate. The whole effort is in peril.

This could be a tragedy for the country and political suicide for Republicans, especially because the conservative arguments against the comprehensive approach are not compelling.  

Every now and again, David Brooks is correct about something.  That's what makes the other 97% of the time so maddening, because it means his standard obliviousness is a conscious choice.  And again, you long-time lurkers know I've been telling anyone who cared to listen that the House GOP was going to trash immigration reform, just like seven years ago.

The first conservative complaint is that, as Kristol and Lowry put it, “the enforcement provisions are riddled with exceptions, loopholes and waivers.” If Obama can waive the parts of Obamacare he finds inconvenient, why won’t he end up waiving a requirement for the use of E-Verify. 

There’s some truth to this critique, and maybe the House should pass a version of the Senate bill that has fewer waivers and loopholes. But, at some point, this argument just becomes an excuse to oppose every piece of legislation, ever. All legislation allows the executive branch to have some discretion. It’s always possible to imagine ways in which a law may be distorted in violation of its intent. But if you are going to use that logic to oppose something, you are going to end up opposing tax reform, welfare reform, the Civil Rights Act and everything else

And surprise, that's exactly what they are doing and why.   Republicans are opposing legislating and governance itself and figure whatever happens, they can hang it all on Obama.

Whether this bill passes or not, this country is heading toward a multiethnic future. Republicans can either shape that future in a conservative direction or, as I’ve tried to argue, they can become the receding roar of a white America that is never coming back. 

That’s what’s at stake. 

They'll never do it.  Years from now when we look back on the ruins of the Obama-era GOP and their failure on immigration reform as where they broke down for good.

North Colorado Rockies

Colorado Republicans apparently aren't too fond of democracies where they might lose elections, so ten rural (and very tea party red) Colorado counties are now openly talking about secession and forming their own North Colorado state.

There’s a growing effort to create a 51st state out of parts of northeast Colorado.

Ten counties, including Weld and Morgan, started talking about seceding last month. Now some people Lincoln and Cheyenne counties say they want to join a new state they’d call “North Colorado.”

Organizers of the secession effort say their interests are not being represented at the state Capitol. Representatives from the 10 counties held a meeting on Monday in the town of Akron in Weld County to begin mapping the boundaries for the new state they say will represent the interests of rural Colorado.

Yeah, Republicans love democracy and voting so much they want to break off and form their own state rather than deal with voters who don't agree with them and outnumber them.

Almost like cranky white guys are becoming a minority.  And we've seen before how they react.

The secessionist movement is the result of a growing urban-rural divide, which was exacerbated after this year’s legislation session where lawmakers raised renewable energy standards for rural electric co-ops, floated bills increasing regulations on oil and gas, and passed sweeping gun control.

The creation of a new state comes with risks. A new state would have to draw up new water agreements which are critical to agriculture and uses 85 percent of Colorado’s water. Supporters say it also comes with new opportunities.

“I say 80 percent of the oil and gas revenue in the state of Colorado is coming out of northeastern Colorado – Weld, Yuma County, and some of other counties,” Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway said. “Seventy percent of the K-12 funding is coming off the state lands in Weld County alone. I’m telling you we are economic drivers.”

So they want to take their oil money, and screw the rest of Colorado.   These guys don't want a democracy, they want a giant gated community for themselves.

Ask Sudan and South Sudan how breaking up land over oil rights goes, guys.


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