Daines Endorses Reactionary Republican Agenda, Hurting Montana Agriculture

Each major vote Steve Daines takes in Washington seems to be further evidence that he’s more interested in representing the far right fringe of the national Republican Party than the interests of Montanans. Today, he cast a vote with his Republican Caucus that will likely mean no farm bill for at least one, if not two years:

John Youngberg of the Montana Farm Bureau Federation said he didn’t think there would be a farm bill passed this year and possibly not until after the 2014 midterm elections. That delay would mean farmers and their lenders will have been without the stability of long-term farm policy for three years.

As a result of the Republican vote, Congress is unlikely to act, because the Senate has already passed bipartisan, compromise legislation that is too far removed from the House version for a consensus bill to emerge from conference committee.

The New York Times explains that Daines’ vote will actually undermine the long term interests of Montana agriculture, because sensible rural members of Congress realized in the 1970s that they needed to join nutrition and ag to pass bills for their states:

In the early 1970s, as rural members of Congress saw their numbers start to decline, a deal was struck to include food stamps in the farm bill so lawmakers would be able to muster enough votes to pass it.

That’s why farm groups opposed the Republican move, with 532 farm organizations calling on the Republicans not to split the bill.

In the face of overwhelming opposition from Montana and national agricultural groups, why did Representative Daines refuse to stand for a sensible bill? Because he supports the radical Republican agenda that endorses punishing  Americans still struggling in difficult economic times. Why won’t Republicans like Daines vote for the joint Farm Bill-Food Stamps bill that has unified Congress for decades? Because they want to cut nutrition programs for the poor.

More like his predecessor every day.

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About the author

Don Pogreba

Don Pogreba has been writing about Montana politics since 2005 and teaching high school English since 2000. He's a former debate coach, and loyal, if often sad, fan of the San Diego Padres and Portland Timbers. He spends far too many hours of his life working at school and on his small business, Big Sky Debate.
His work has appeared in Politico and Rewire.
In the past few years, travel has become a priority, whether it's a road trip to some little town in Montana or a museum of culture in Ísafjörður, Iceland.

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