The Free Press, Mankato, MN

July 11, 2013

Math is twisted on farm bill analysis

---- — Bob Jentges’ “objective analysis” (July 9) trying to show Democrats killed the farm bill should impress nobody.

He says, “The vote on the [House] farm bill was 195 for and 234 against. The Republican vote against was 62; the Democrat vote against was 172. Only 24 Democrats voted for passage of the farm bill.”

Let’s state this differently. 171 Republicans voted for the House bill and 172 Democrats voted against it. That’s an almost even split. So what tipped the balance so that the bill failed, 195 to 234? Because 62 other Republicans voted against their own Party’s bill. 62 + 172 = 234.

If House Republicans had brought up the compromise Senate farm bill (passed with a 66-27 bipartisan vote), it would have had overwhelming Democratic support. But, first, Republicans proposed cutting food stamps for about two million more people; then they added provisions for drug testing; and then they added work rules.

There’s need for compromise. But there’s a difference between voting for a compromise and voting for a compromise of a compromise of a compromise of a compromise — each additional one going in one direction, in this case, hitting further on low income people.

And why did those 62 other Republicans vote against the House bill? Not from concern for low income people. Instead, they demanded deeper cuts.

Ron Yezzi