Legislative Lowdown: The secret plan to raise your taxes

Fixing the farm bill

The Senate has commenced a debate on another bloated federal program: the farm bill. The Senate is expected to debate this idea for the next few weeks. The bill, S. 3240, redistributes your tax dollars to agricultural interests, maintains welfare programs at bloated levels and does nothing to remove a mandate that increases ethanol production. Heritage Action for America is against the Senate version of the bill, which is expected to cost $969 billion over the next 10 years.

One of the bill’s most offensive provisions expands the “shallow-loss” program. This program is expected to funnel more than $60 billion over the next five years to wealthy farmers, according to research conducted by the American Enterprise Institute.

The food stamp program is another problem area in this bill. Participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) is at record-high levels. According to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) and CBO data, food stamps usage has jumped 260 percent since 2000. The farm bill does not reform this program.

Conservatives are hoping the House version of the farm bill contains cuts to the bloat and starts the process of moving the agriculture sector away from subsidies and toward a true free market.

Brian Darling is the senior fellow for government studies at The Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).