The Farm Bill and Benghazi
January 9, 2014
Wyoming Representative Cynthia Lummis talked about the current status of the Farm Bill and her experiences on the Oversight Government Reform Committee within the House during her presentation at the Wyoming Farm Bureau Federation (WyFB) Annual Meeting in Laramie on Nov. 16.
"Both the House and the Senate passed one," she began of the Farm Bill.
Two separate bills, one passed in the House and another passed in the Senate, were being worked on in conference in an attempt to marriage them into some form of compromised bill both sides will agree on.
"The Senate provided less savings with regard to the nutritional title and more savings with the farm title – so much so that the nutrition title is more than 80 percent of their farm bill, which means it is no longer a farm bill," noted Lummis.
The House did just the opposite, and passed its version in two bills, separating the farm title from the nutrition title.
"That was considered against conventional wisdom because in the past there has been this alliance, be it holy or unholy, that those in urban areas wanting to see more food stamps and more opportunity for growth of the nutrition title were deemed as allies of those in the farming community with regard to getting the bill passed simultaneously. Frankly, those times have changes, and I was an advocate for the separation of the two bills," stated Lummis.
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Much deeper cuts were seen to the nutrition title on the House side, as well as the disallowance of categorical eligibility for nutrition and food stamp programs.
"What that means is if you can prove you're eligible for food stamps or some other component of a government entitlement program, you qualify for all of them. That is the way it has been done to create an increased participation in entitlement programs that come under the nutrition title. One way to get a handle on runaway spending is to make sure if someone wants to qualify for a government program they qualify separately for it. They have to prove eligibility for each program, the terms of which are sometimes different, under the House bill" explained Lummis, adding there is also a work requirement associated with food stamps on the House side, as well as some differences in the farm program title.
Another very serious topic Lummis updated attendees on was her involvement in the Oversight Government Reform Committee, through which she just returned from a trip to Lybia and Egypt where hearings on Benghzi were heard.
"We are unable to interview eyewitnesses to the event in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, and it's pretty offensive the manner in which the State Department is withholding information from Congress as we continue to investigate the situation," began Lummis.
She continued, noting she has read the classifieds reports on the situation, which require a person to go into a room, surrender their cell phone, prove they have no paper and pencil, and read while two people observe.
"There are gaps in that report in my opinion. I don't yet understand how so much information was available to the terrorists who invaded the compound with regard to the ambassadors whereabouts, and how to get to that specific safe room where they caused so much smoke that he died of smoke inhalation as he was crawling on the floor to a window to get out," stated Lummis.
There is even less available information in regard to what happened at the CIA Annex, and no one remains in Lybia save one person who was there on Sept. 11, 2012.
"They have been dispersed elsewhere in the world, and getting at them will be very difficult, even for members of Congress. But, you know how when you get the feeling someone is hiding something, and it makes you want to dig deeper? That is what is happening to us in this situation," she explained.
Lummis went on to note her extreme displeasure with the current administration and their lack of leadership, commenting that Obamacare is a prime example of what many western voters knew to be the aptitude of the president long ago.
"We have an opportunity to reform our nation. People who have not been paying attention and took this president at face value realize you can't take him at face value now. People in this room could have told America that over three years ago, and that's why I so respect the people of Wyoming. There is something to be said about competing for a living, to earn success and not have it handed to you. The American Farm Bureau is an honorable organization, and you should all be proud of the work you do. I certainly am," she concluded.