In an Op-Ed published Tuesday, GOP Senator Roy Blunt tried to blame Democratic Senator Harry Reid for the fact that the GOP Tea Partiers who control the House never learned to play nice with others, specifically when it comes to vital legislation like the Farm Bill:
As I travel across Missouri, I continue to hear stories about the toll that this drought has taken on farmers, ranchers, and other job creators statewide,” Blunt said. “The President’s unilateral actions are simply insufficient. The House and Senate left Washington without adjourning, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid could still figure out how to pass the bill and respond to this disaster now.
The dig at the President’s “unilateral” action is a reference to the fact that, in the absence of action from the Congress, the White House stepped in to try to help American ranchers devastated by the drought by buying livestock as part of the federal food nutrition assistance programs.
Blunt’s always good about pretending he doesn’t know just where those chickens coming home to roost really belong – it might be his greatest skill. In fact, we’d have a farm bill now if Roy Blunt’s GOP pal, John Boehner, were even half-way effective in his role as Speaker of the House:
The Senate version of the farm bill included disaster relief and passed in that chamber before the August recess, but the House failed to take up their version of the farm bill, leaving many Midwest lawmakers upset with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)
Just why did the House refuse to take up the Senate’s bill? The reason most often given is that the Senate refused to cut out provisions for food subsidies. These subsidies are, with the looming expiration of unemployment benefits, the the only type of federal aid available for some of the millions of U.S. citizens, many of whom are down and out thanks to the Bush recession.
The mean-minded sanctimony that puts ideology over the welfare of people is exemplified by our own Rep. Todd Akin (R-2), who is currently running for Senator Claire McCaskill’s Senate seat:
Most of the farm part of the thing, I’m quite reasonable and pretty comfortable with,” said Akin, adding that he understands the need to create stability in agricultural markets. But “I’ve never been a big fan of the government, and particularly more and more and more growing those programs,” such as food subsidies for lower-income families.
Joan McCarter at the DailyKos puts the onus right back where it belongs – on the GOP and self-righteous bellyachers like Roy Blunt:
The Senate passed their bill, with disaster relief. Blunt might have a hard time remembering that, but he shouldn’t: He sent out a press release lauding his vote for it. So the Senate has done their part. The White House has come up with millions in emergency declarations and drought relief.
This one is totally on Republican leadership in the House, and that includes Paul Ryan. Instead of blaming Harry Reid, Republican senators like Blunt (who’ve done their job) need to be talking to Boehner and Ryan. Any delay in drought relief is squarely on their shoulders.
Amen to that. Blunt should start with Akin. Any fool who’s willing to let the state’s agricultural sector go to hell-in-a-handbasket just in order to keep poor Americans hungry really needs a lesson in perspective.