Democrats Finally Understand the Power of the Agriculture Bill

Four years ago, I noted that many conservatives can be ‘got’ by holding the agricultural bill hostage (though this probably doesn’t apply to the completely batshitloonitarian wing). Despite what popular press accounts claim, Democrats can find leverage to use against Republicans (boldface mine):

Dems who are pushing for an extension [of unemployment benefits] have hatched a new plan to do just that: Once Congress returns, they will refuse to support the reauthorization of the farm bill — which will almost certainly need Dem support to pass the House — unless Republicans agree to restart unemployment benefits with the farm bill’s savings.

“Under no circumstances should we support the farm bill unless Republicans agree to use the savings from it to extend unemployment insurance,” Dem Rep. Chris Van Hollen, a top party strategist, told me today. “This is a potential pressure point. We’re going to have to resolve differences in the farm bill because otherwise milk prices will spike. If past is prologue, they are going to need a good chunk of Democrats to pass the farm bill.”

Van Hollen said that he would organize among Democrats to get them to make this stand, and said he’d encourage the House Dem leadership to do the same.

“I will encourage my colleagues to take that position,” he said. “I’m confident that the House Democratic leadership will look for every opportunity to extend unemployment insurance, helping struggling families and the economy. The farm bill reauthorization may be the first such opportunity.”

Four years too late, but Democrats are finally starting to turn the screws. About time.

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