Analysis: Republican Chairmen Oppose Farm Bill, Women Influence Growing In Congress | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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Analysis: Republican Chairmen Oppose Farm Bill, Women Influence Growing In Congress

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With lawmakers on Capitol Hill poised to move forward this week on immigration reform, they may be trying to learn from the example of a farm bill that failed in the House last week. And the decision of one congressional leader from the D.C. region could help explain why that bill wasn't passed. Among those voting 'no' were six high ranking Republicans, including Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia. David Hawkings of the [Hawkings Here]( column for Roll Call has been following the stories.

On why these Republican Committee chairmen opposed the farm bill:

"Mainly because they didn't think it did enough to restrain spending on food stamps... was the policy reason. But the larger political reason was that they thought they could get away with it. By which I mean, back in the old days, even into the '80s and early '90s, and even into the earlier parts of this decade, when you were a committee chairman, one of the obligations of leadership was to do a little bit of followership. And when your leadership told you that you needed to bend your own ideological will to the larger cause of getting something done in the House, you went along with it. But what we learned from last week's farm bill vote, was that people like Mr. Goodlatte, who's a former agriculture committee chairman, and so probably had lot of policy reasons for opposing the bill, quite simply felt that party discipline wasn't what it used to be, and that they could vote no without punishment or repercussions."

On why Democratic House minority Whip Steny Hoyer may have overestimated how many in his own party would support the bill:

"He would say he had the whip count exactly right on his side. His side would say that they were promising 40 votes for this bill... that the 40 votes on the Democratic side combined with 180 votes on the Republican side would have gotten the bill over the hump. But the Republicans, in his view sort of changed the bill so much in the very end by adding a couple of amendments to require food stamps recipients to have extra work requirements, that votes on his side peeled away."

On the fifth annual women's congressional softball game and the growing influence of women in congress:

"The fifth annual Roll Call Congressional baseball game [has been] going on for 52 years now, dating back to before even World War II, and is an almost all-male affair. There is one woman who plays for the Democrats on the congressional baseball game. But it's only in the last five years that there have been enough women in Congress to take on somebody. There aren't enough of them yet to have Republicans vs. Democrats. We will see that happening soon enough. But in the meantime, there are plenty of — my colleagues in the reporting ranks who are women who, who are willing to take these women on. It's great boding for them"

Listen to the full analysis here.


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