WASHINGTON -- Republicans are making more noise about dropping food stamps from farm legislation that previously failed to pass the House of Representatives because of disagreement over cuts in nutrition assistance.
Roll Call reported Tuesday that a vote could happen as soon as this week, but a spokesman for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) suggested leaders haven't made up their minds.
"There has been no decision made to schedule a vote on a farm bill, in any form," Cantor spokesman Rory Cooper told HuffPost. Cantor previously hinted that the House leadership was considering splitting the farm legislation.
The farm bill failed last month after Democrats voted against it because they felt its cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program went too far, while conservative Republicans voted nay because the cuts didn't go far enough. Many on both sides also consider its farm subsidies overly generous to agribusiness.
The House GOP could likely pass deeper SNAP cuts without any Democratic support, although it's unclear how such a conservative bill could pass in the Senate. While some of the farm subsidy provisions will expire in the fall without new legislation, food stamps will continue on autopilot, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told HuffPost last week.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) had carefully shepherded farm legislation through his committee only to see it fail in last month's surprising floor vote. Lucas spokeswoman Tamara Hinton said Tuesday that he'd rather keep food stamps and farm subsidies together but wants to see something passed.
"It's not his preference to split the bill, but he wants to get a new farm bill enacted and will do what's necessary to accomplish that goal," Hinton said in an email.
For the past half century, nutrition assistance and farm subsidies have been linked legislatively in farm bills passed by an alliance of rural and urban lawmakers. That arrangement for enacting the bills every five years has broken lately with the rise of tea party Republicans unwilling to play along.
Nutrition assistance accounts for most of the bill's near $1 trillion cost over 10 years as the bad economy has pushed SNAP enrollment above 47 million Americans, making the program a major target for Republicans.
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The Deficit Has Grown Mostly Because Of The Recession
The deficit has ballooned not because of specific spending measures, but <a href="http://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?s[id]=FYFSD" target="_hplink">because of the recession</a>. <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals" target="_hplink">The deficit more than doubled</a> between 2008 and 2009, as the economy was in free fall, since laid-off workers paid less in taxes and needed more benefits. The deficit then shrank in 2010 and 2011.
The Stimulus Cost Much Less Than Bush's Wars, Tax Cuts
Republicans frequently have blamed <a href="http://projects.nytimes.com/44th_president/stimulus" target="_hplink">the $787 billion stimulus</a> for the national debt, but, when all government spending is taken into account, the stimulus frankly wasn't that big. In contrast, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/29/cost-of-war-iraq-afghanistan_n_887084.html" target="_hplink">the U.S. will have spent nearly $4 trillion</a> on wars in the Middle East by the time those conflicts end, according to a recent report by Brown University. <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/revisiting-the-cost-of-the-bush-tax-cuts/2011/05/09/AFxTFtbG_blog.html" target="_hplink">The Bush tax cuts have cost nearly $1.3 trillion</a> over 10 years.
The Deficit Grew Under George W. Bush
When George W. Bush took office, <a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals" target="_hplink">the federal government was running a surplus</a> of $86 billion. When he left, that had turned into a $642 billion deficit.
The Deficit Is Shrinking
<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals" target="_hplink">Last year's federal budget deficit</a> was 12 percent lower than in 2009, according to the Office of Management and Budget.<a href="http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/budget/Historicals" target="_hplink">The deficit is projected to shrink</a> even more over the next several years.
Investors Are Paying Us To Borrow Money
<a href="http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield" target="_hplink">The interest rate on 10-year Treasury bonds</a> is <em>negative</em>, according to the Treasury Department. Investors are even paying us for 30-year Treasury bonds, when adjusted for inflation.
Investors Are Not Running Away
<a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/niall-ferguson-has-been-wrong-on-economics-2012-8" target="_hplink">Conservative commentators</a> have been warning for years that investors will run away from Treasury bonds because of the national debt. So far it's not happening. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/30/treasury-yield-record-low_n_1555975.html" target="_hplink">Interest rates on Treasury bonds</a> continue to hover at historic lows.
Health Care Reform Reduces The Deficit
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The U.S. Is Borrowing Less From China
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We Spend A Lot On Defense
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We Spend A Lot On Health Care
<a href="http://www.cbpp.org/cms/index.cfm?fa=view&id=1258" target="_hplink">Health insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid, constituted 21 percent</a> of federal spending last year. In contrast, education constituted 2 percent of federal spending. Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/08/19/2956609/middle-aged-blues-over-paul-ryans.html" target="_hplink">Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have promised not to change Medicare</a> for Americans age 55 and older.
Republicans May Want Large Deficits For Now
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