Thursday, December 13, 2007

Farm payment reforms fail in Senate

Both amendments--Lugar-Lautenberg's "Fresh Act" and Dorgan-Grassley's payment limits-- that would have included meaningful farm subsidy reform in the 2007 farm bill failed in the past two days, the latter falling only 4 votes short of the 60 it needed to be adopted.

The Environmental Working Group and the Center for Rural Affairs blogs have some interesting analysis of how the Democrats sabotaged reform by playing politics with the vote's parliamentary procedure, in order to prevent Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) from embarrassing her own party. They place blame for the failure of Dorgan-Grassley squarely on the Democratic leadership and those reform-touting Senators who voted against the amendment.

A number of other amendments to reform agriculture policy remain to be voted on, including Sen. Tester's (D-MT) attempt to "beef up" the new Livestock Title by adding a "packer ban" to check the power of industrial meatpackers and processors by reinforcing the Packers and Stockyards Act's rules against market manipulation. Apparently, the meat industry has been hard at work preventing this amendment from passing.

You can watch here. Update 12/20/2007: fixed broken link.

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