The failure on the part of the House of Representatives to renew the farm policy law is both a sign of poor leadership on the part of the Republican Speaker of the House and an extremely divided Republican party caucus. The farm policy law expires every five years. Last year the House passed a stop-gap measure which the Democrat-controlled Senate went along with and that allowed the old law to be in effect for another year.
This year the House failed twice to pass a new farm policy bill and it is highly unlikely that the Senate will accommodate Republicans with another bailout. House Republicans are divided on the issue of food stamps and the amount of other cuts to the trillion-dollar farm bill. A new law is necessary in order to help balance the budget.
The problem is that Republicans are no longer members of a single political party. There are at least three ‘sects’ within the GOP – the Tea Party, the Evangelicals, and the Moderates – that are so politically and ideologically unique that it is impossible for them to act as one in almost any issue that comes up for a vote in the House.
Add to that division the poor leadership of the current House Speaker. It can’t be anything but poor leadership when the Speaker calls for a vote twice on a single bill that he was so confident of passing only to fail on both occasions – and miserably – in spite of the large Republican majority and the support of up to 40 Democrats.