While it can’t compete with the debt ceiling and budget battle for headlines, keep an eye on the agriculture bill that Congress must finalize by Sept. 30. Our very own Rep. Doug LaMalfa has a lot riding on the outcome.
He was No. 2 on a list of 15 Congressmen who received farm subsidies in 2012, collecting over $62,000 for farming sticky rice. The LaMalfa family farm has collected $4.7 million in farm subsidies–almost $1.7 million in cash–since 1995, according to the Environmental Working Group. Those subsidies might–might–disappear in the farm bill currently before Congress.
But don’t worry about LaMalfa. He and Rep. John Garamendi (D., Calif.) teamed up to insert a provision in the bill that guarantees that if the market price of sticky rice falls below 115 percent of the average price of all types of rice, sticky rice farmers will get a government check to make up the difference.
“What industry would have the temerity to demand that the government guarantee a price?” said a spokesman for EWG. “This is like guaranteeing a price for the iPhone.”
While he was at it, LaMalfa joined his fellow Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee to cut food stamps by $40 billion over the next 10 years, a move that could impact about 59,000 of his constituents in the First Congressional District. The bill was derailed by Tea Party conservatives who objected to the overall cost of the bill and Democrats who didn’t like the food stamp cuts.
The ag bill, minus food stamps, was passed by the House in July. The measure is currently in a Senate-House conference committee being crafted into a bill everybody can live with. LaMalfa, who likes to portray himself as a pillar of fiscal rectitude when it comes to taxpayer money, will do just fine. His constituents depending on food stamps? Probably not so well.
JUST WONDERING: Republican State Senator Dan Logue has announced he wants to challenge Garamendi in next year’s general election. Will LaMalfa endorse Logue, or remain neutral?