Vilsack Says House GOP Using Harry Potter Invisible Cloaking to Hide True Farm Bill Cost

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack says the House GOP’s written a largely political farm bill using “Harry Potter” style ‘invisible cloaking’ to hide the bill’s true cost.

Vilsack, on a press call announcing new energy grants, says House Republicans need to get practical and lower their farm bill expectations. He says, “There are many issues here with raising expectations too high and not having real money. I like to say they’ve used Harry Potter’s invisibility cloak to essentially cloak over what I think CBO says is at least a 30 billion-dollar deficit.”

That’s despite House Ag Republicans claiming SNAP and CCC savings to offset higher crop supports or reference prices, offsets Vilsack charges step on Democrats’ ‘red lines.’ He says, “I think what we saw from the House Agriculture Committee is more of a political point of view, essentially establishing and providing just about everybody everything they’re asking for. The problem of course is that there are not enough resources to be able to pay for all of that. So, as the Congressional Budget Office has determined, there are multiple billions of dollars of deficit in the House bill, which causes, I think, concern about whether it can pass the House, and certainly, have problems in the Senate.”

Leading Vilsack to conclude; “My hope is that we wouldn’t have to have an extension, but obviously, if September 30th comes and goes and we haven’t got a farm bill passed, at that point it would be appropriate for the Congress to pass an extension to give them sufficient time, hopefully before the end of the year, to get this farm bill passed.”

And increasingly, the farm bill stalemate has prompted lawmakers in both parties to say it might be better to wait ‘til after the elections to write a five-year farm bill.

Story by Matt Kaye/Berns Bureau, courtesy of NAFB News Service