Fumble Changes the Posturing
So, I was taken aback, along with many other conservatives, when I heard that the 2018 Farm Bill failed as the Republican Freedom Caucus joined with Democrats to ensure its defeat in the House of Representatives.
The reason for the demise was even more depressing. The defeat was over immigration. Yep… immigration.
Tell a dairy farmer in Wisconsin, or a cattle rancher in Texas that it is wise to hold agriculture hostage over a completely unrelated topic that should have been resolved long before this bill came to the floor.
Freedom Caucus Republicans need to stop this sort of hostage taking and do so now. The foolishness of such actions creates the ambiance of governing the country despite itself.
The daily struggles faced by farmers, ranchers, and orchard owners should not be neglected because a certain group of Republicans care more about being right than being effective. Defeat the Farm Bill on the merits of the bill itself. Declare it too expensive for the taxpayer. Declare it too large to stomach for small government principles. Declare it a Frankenstein bill full of special interest funding.
Notice that the Freedom Caucus mentioned nothing in the realm of conservative principle to oppose the Farm Bill.
Speaker Paul Ryan (WI), it is said, conveyed to colleagues that he refused to be held hostage by the Freedom Caucus. Congressman Ryan gambled that he would find enough votes to pass the legislation despite unified Democratic opposition. He was unable to do so.
Thirty Republicans voted against the bill. Rep. Jim Jordan (R., OH) said lawmakers needed to address the immigration issue that was consistent with the mandate of the 2016 presidential election. The Irony is that President Donald Trump has suffered more defeats at the hands of the House Freedom Caucus than those created by Democrats.
Compromise is an efficient and effective means to proper government. Conservative leadership should hold their ground on principles.
The problem with the Farm Bill’s defeat is that the effects have a ripple effect on American dairy farmers, the poor, the working poor, and the middle class. And for what? To defend an amendment unrelated to the farm bill?
Had Democrats attempted something similar, Republicans would have been yawping to the rooftops at the travesty.
If Immigration was such a fundamental mandate of the 2016 election, why did The Freedom Caucus say that the Obamacare repeal was the cornerstone of the mandate? We saw how that ended earlier this year.
The circular firing squad on the floor of the House of Representatives needs to end. It is right and proper for conservative leaders to take a stand, but it is even more important that such stands be taken on the solid ground of true conservatism.
The quicksand of this Farm Bill defeat is that it prolongs a stereotypical labeling that the modern Republican Party is more interested in partisan positioning within its own tent than providing true conservative leadership that its platform outlines.
Do I like all the bells and whistles in the Farm Bill? No. Many Republican voters; want the Republican leadership at the federal level to use pragmatism and fiscal discipline to carry out the business of governing.
Conservatives want to see a Republican Party invigorated and principled. A defeat like this is not in the name of conservative principles, but rather election year posturing while evoking President Trump.
The Republican Party will be all the better if such defeats are not repeated. Immigration is a separate issue from agriculture. It should have never been the basis for the Farm Bill. It will be remembered by many as an unnecessary and embarrassing political fumble.