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The first vote in a legislative session is the most important. The Senate and the House of Representatives vote for their respective leaders. The leadership positions are consistently decided by which party has the majority.
Why are the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader of the Senate so important? They appoint the committees. Making sure they have the majority in all the committees, they appoint their loyal party members. Then, the majority party controls legislation.Boehner's and Reid's Farm Bill Fraud on America
Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) politely explained the collusion between rural Republicans and big-city Democrats that resulted in the $1 trillion (over ten years) Farm Bill. This is a $1 trillion tax on all Americans, especially our children. Lee referred to the bill as a: “Beltway marriage of convenience between welfare and corporate welfare.”
Instead of debating and voting for or against food stamps and farm insurance separately, this “marriage” traded $800 billion of food stamps for $200 billion of farm insurance. This is devious and deceptive and is commonly referred to as “logrolling” by America's political elites.
Much more devious was how Speaker of the House Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) forced rural and conservative Republicans to participate in the deception. Outraged, Lee called this manipulation a “bullying, disenfranchising shake-down of the American west.”
The Federal government owns enormous amounts of land in western America and does not pay any local property tax. Thus, the Federal government created the PILT (Payment In Lieu of Taxes) which sends money to local governments. Lee explains:
“Under PILT, Congress sends a few cents on the dollar out west every year to make up for lost property taxes. There is no guaranteed amount. Washington just sends what it feels like.”
This year the PILT was part of the omnibus spending bill – orchestrated by Senator Murray (D-WA) and Representative Ryan (R-WI) – which passed in January. Except the PILT was removed from the omnibus bill just before the vote and subsequently made part of the Farm Bill.
Apparently, Senator Reid and Speaker Boehner realized they had enough votes for the omnibus spending bill without the PILT. To please lobbyists for the sugar industry, welfare, crop insurance, and many more special interest groups, Reid and Boehner desperately wanted to pass the Farm Bill. With PILT as part of the Farm Bill, suddenly county commissioners from all over America – especially the west - were calling their Senators and Representatives demanding the passage of the Farm Bill. Thus, fiscally conservative Republicans who had demanded separate debates and votes on food stamps and crop insurance were coerced to support legislation loaded with pork. Again, this $1 trillion tax lands on our taxpaying laps, especially our children's laps. Lee expounds:
“This Farm Bill is a monument to every dysfunction Washington indulges to bend our politics and twist our economy to benefit itself at the expense of the American people.”
He added that the Farm Bill is “collusion between both parties against the American people; it benefits the special interests at the expense of the national interest.”