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Jon Fleischman

An Invitation To Any One Of 216 Republicans In Congress…

So yesterday the House of Representatives passed a new “farm bill” that provides for $200 billion in spending in direct and indirect financial support for privately owned farming interests, large and small. In addition the legislation put into permanent law a number of entitlements, with the idea that in future years Congress is leveraged to do more of the same. Now the legislation passed Congress on a party-line vote, with 216 Republicans voting for it. A chunk of Republicans and all Democrats either opposed the legislation or did not vote. Which is to say Republicans completely “own” this bill.

So I am (still) waiting for any one of my Republican friends in Congress from California who voted for the bill to walk us through, in writing, how this measure is at all consistent with Republican rhetoric. This legislation flies in the face of the talk that we need to cut federal spending. This legislation actually increases spending in these areas. Of course those Republicans who say that government needs to “stop picking winners and losers” have to now justify why one business sector, agriculture, is singled out to have tax dollars paid by the rest of us redistributed to them. Aren’t we picking winners at the expense of, well, the rest of us?  Of course our “federalists” in Congress have to explain why, if subsidies like this are appropriate, why that would be a function of the federal government rather than something done at the discretion of the states. And of course Republicans talk about the important of free markets, and moving away from government distortion of the marketplace. We talk about risk and reward and yet, for this sector only, it is okay to have the government heavily subsidize “crop insurance” so that these businesspeople, through government generosity, do not have the risks of the marketplace that, well, everyone else has to deal with. I could go on at length, but I think I have laid the gauntlet down.

What is the articulate justification for passing this legislation — that all of us who are asked to “defend and promote” our GOP majority in Congress can use to talk about how great this legislation is for our party, and our nation? How is this legislation consistent with our core principles as a party, and embrace a vision for how we, as Republicans, think that our government should be run.

I am waiting for any one of 216 Republicans to walk me through this bill. Anyone? Any takers? You can comment here? If you submit something to me, I will print it verbatim on this site. I just need help understanding this. It clearly requires a perspective from Inside the Beltway because from where I sit, it just looks like liberal policy.

Thank you for your consideration.