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My Turn: Mike Lee’s complaint

If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain.”
~ Maya Angelou

Mike Lee, Utah’s junior Republican United States Senator, like Alexander Portnoy, has a complaint.
The good senator actually thought it would be a good idea to spend 13 minutes and 35 seconds on the floor of the U.S. Senate yesterday complaining about the 2014 Farm Bill . . . legislation that, after years of political gamesmanship on both sides of the aisle, was finally passed by the House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
President Obama signs the $956 billion bill into law today during a visit to Michigan State University’s East Lansing campus.
Lee, of course, proudly says that he voted against the bill.
Does Senator Lee have good reason to complain about the farm bill?
Any thinking American has good reason to complain about this farm bill because, like anything man-made, it is far from perfect.
The bill cuts $8 billion in food stamp benefits for Americans who can least afford the cut . . . a cut better made to bloated defense budgets . . . but since poor Americans can’t afford to buy the lobbyists defense contractors can afford to buy, that argument is moot.
On the other hand, the bill does some things that make sense . . . things like:

  • Completely eliminating $5 billion in direct payments to farmers, whether or not they grew crops
  • Cutting overall taxpayer contributions to farmers by nearly $17 billion over the next decade
  • Reducing the amount of money an individual farmer can receive in payments and loans from the federal government to $125,000.00
  • Fully funding farmers who switch to organic farming
  • Requiring farmers to comply with conservation programs and regulations
  • Adding $200 million in financing for America’s food banks

So, what is Lee’s complaint?
Lee, supposedly a dyed-in-the-garments Mormon, surprisingly complains about the Food Stamp program, saying, “Under this legislation, the Food Stamps program is not really reformed – just expanded.
Oops . . . the honorable senator who is not known to be the smartest person on Capitol Hill has not been able to figure out that this farm bill in fact cuts food stamp benefits by $8 billion . . . hardly an expansion . . . or is he simply lying to make some sort of murky political point?
Senator Lee then goes off on a disjointed rant about how federally owned lands somehow prevent counties and cities from hiring Sheriff’s deputies, buying ambulances, and hiring teachers.
I know what you’re thinking: "Davy, federal lands? What the heck does that have to do with a farm bill? This guy’s logic is hard to follow. What on earth is Senator Mike Lee trying to say?"
Good question.
What is Mike Lee trying to say?
If he’s so all-fired concerned about the inadequacies of the 2014 Farm Bill, why didn’t he offer any amendments to the bill? Moreover, why didn’t he write his own version of the Farm Bill to show his colleagues in Congress how they could have done it right the first time?
Another good question.
Makes me wonder . . . could it be that Senator Lee’s complaint is simply offered up as another gesture to placate the Tea Party so it doesn’t ‘primary’ him out of his cushy job in 2016?
If you’d like to ask Senator Lee yourself, you can call him at 202-224-5444 or send a FAX to 202-228-1168.
I’d appreciate it if you let me know what he says . . . for some reason, they’re not taking my calls.

Comments? Questions? Contact the author at: or Tweet: @DavyZJones

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