Say what you will about the 2010 deal to extend the Bush tax cuts, which helped to set up what we’re seeing this month. But there was definitely a virtue in getting it done by early December, allowing for a productive lame duck session that repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, passed the New START arms reduction treaty, and several other measures. Because this entire lame duck has been consumed with fiscal slope negotiations, and really only the tax rate and social insurance part of it, bills that might have had a chance to pass through Congress if the pipeline were unclogged instead remain dormant. And unlike 2010, the bills in question in 2012 are more of the must-pass variety.
|By: David Dayen Friday December 21, 2012 10:23 am|
|By: David Dayen Monday December 10, 2012 11:55 am|
Another serious cliff resulting from the silly way Congress does business concerns the failure to pass a farm bill earlier this year. The Senate passed its own with bipartisan support, the House Agriculture Committee passed a version and then the House leadership refused to put that onto the floor for a variety of reasons. They broke in September without a plan for passage, and the lame duck session has been consumed by negotiations through the media on the fiscal slope, without addressing the farm bill.
|By: David Dayen Sunday November 11, 2012 6:45 am|
Among the many other reasons not to engage in a grand bargain during the lame duck session is that Congress actually needs to get busy with other matters. For a variety of reasons, mainly that they’re not good at their job, Congress left a multitude of items on the table for the lame duck, many of which must pass aside from the fiscal slope measures like the Bush tax cuts, the sequester, unemployment insurance, the payroll tax cut and the alternative minimum tax patch. The Hill rounds some of them up.
I put these in the categories of “good” and “must avoid disaster.”
|By: David Dayen Friday September 28, 2012 4:00 pm|
This Sunday, the deadline will expire on the current farm bill. Many programs will revert back to the 1949 permanent legislation. However, provisions in the continuing resolution will keep food stamps, crop insurance, farmer subsidy programs and other funding streams moving through the system. That continuing resolution sets the USDA budget and will allow full funding for most current programs.
That’s not true across the board, however. In particular, dairy farmers could feel a pinch.
|By: David Dayen Friday September 21, 2012 7:30 am|
Today is the last day of the legislative session before Election Day. Lawmakers will go home to campaign on September 21, which is the earliest date during an election cycle in decades. And they leave a lot of pending legislation on the table. As John Boehner announced in the above clip, the House plans to adjourn without dealing with the farm bill. A bipartisan farm bill has already passed the Senate, and the House Agriculture Committee cleared their version months ago. But Boehner has been unable to line up support on the floor for it, out of an insistence that most of his caucus support it.
|By: David Dayen Tuesday September 18, 2012 7:36 am|
Congress is in session this week for the final time this year before the election. I sort of shrugged this off as fairly typical for an election year, but it’s not. Usually, Congress stays in session until about a month before the election. Here they’re leaving with seven weeks to go. The do-nothing Congress has decided to double up on doing nothing.
|By: David Dayen Thursday September 13, 2012 5:00 pm|
While the House will pass their six-month stopgap budget bill today, pushing government spending authority out to March, one other September 30 deadline remains outstanding, and Congress looks prepared to let it expire. That would be the authorization for farm programs. If nothing is done, the farm programs would revert back to the policy of decades ago.
|By: David Dayen Monday August 13, 2012 2:50 pm|
Republican lawmakers in rural farming communities were worried that they would have to go home to their districts empty-handed, without any tools to help farmers deal with this summer’s massive drought. They tried to sidestep this problem by passing, at the last possible minute, a bill to provide a year of drought relief to livestock producers. They could then blame the Senate for not following suit, even though the Senate had no chance to do so. This gambit isn’t working.
|By: David Dayen Friday August 3, 2012 8:51 am|
The House of Representatives passed their one-year drought relief bill by a relatively thin margin yesterday, 223-197. They needed 35 votes from Democrats to get it across the line, as 46 Republicans begged off the bill. Here’s the roll call.
The House passed this on the last possible day of the session before the August recess, and the Senate did not get around to passage. So there will be no immediate disaster relief coming for livestock producers suffering under a price spike due to corn shortages.
|By: David Dayen Thursday August 2, 2012 11:37 am|
The House will take up its standalone disaster relief bill today, which will serve as a talking point in rural Republican districts as “action” being taken to respond to the historic drought plaguing the country. The House waited until the last possible day before the August recess to pass the measure, giving the Senate basically no time to concur. So there won’t really be action taken before the recess, but House members can say “I passed a bill and now the Senate must act.”