Congressman Tom Cotton’s vote yesterday against the Farm Bill makes one wonder if he has forgotten that Arkansas’s economy is dependent on the agriculture industry. Further, Cotton’s opposition to the Farm Bill is happy news for Mark Pryor.
Cotton is a Harvard-trained lawyer so he must be a pretty smart man, but someone should remind the freshman Congressman that agriculture is an $8 billion a year industry and what’s good for agriculture is usually good for Arkansas.
Ironically, Cotton opposed the bill because he wanted a certain government program cut, but since the bill failed to pass, the program he opposes will retain its current level of funding and could even grow. I wonder if Cotton knew that fact? Cotton is of course only six months into his first-term and being so green at getting things done in Congress may not have realized that.
The Farm Bill failed to pass the Republican-controlled House yesterday, and of Arkansas’s four Congressmen, only Tom Cotton voted against the legislation. Read more details on the bill here.
Numerous Arkansas agricultural powerhouse groups supported the Farm Bill, such as the Arkansas Farm Bureau, the Arkansas Cattleman’s Association, Arkansas Rice Federation, the Agricultural Council of Arkansas to name a few.
Arkansas’s agricultural leaders wanted this Farm Bill passed, but that didn’t matter to Congressman Cotton. Reading between the lines of their praise for Rick Crawford, Tim Griffin and Steve Womack in voting for the Farm Bill, it’s painfully obvious they’re unhappy with Tom Cotton’s vote. Moreover, privately various agricultural leaders will tell you Cotton’s opposition was politically short-sighted and a bit bone-headed.
Why did agricultural support of the Farm Bill not matter to Tom Cotton? It’s because Cotton’s true boss, the Club for Growth, vehemently opposed its passage.
The Club for Growth bankrolled his successful 2012 campaign and they’re gearing up to fund his potential run against U.S. Senator Mark Pryor. It appears to me that Cotton can’t afford to tick off his major donors.
One of the main reasons Cotton gave for opposing the Farm Bill was it didn’t cut the food stamps program enough, even though it did cut $20 billion from the program over the next decade. Cutting $20 billion from a program where 47% of its funding goes directly to children wasn’t good enough for Cotton. He wanted more cuts.
This is the program I referred to earlier that will not be cut since the Farm Bill did not pass. Cotton ended up approving a budget he wants cut by voting against the bill.
Finally, Cotton’s opposition to the Farm Bill is a political gold mine that Mark Pryor can spend months digging into. Pryor can visit with Arkansas agricultural leaders and show that Cotton voted against a major bill they wanted pass. Pryor can point to the numerous things he’s done in the Senate to help Arkansas’s agricultural industry.
On the flip-side, how can the agri-industry trust Cotton when he votes against their interests?
Every day Tom Cotton cast votes, it seems to make Mark Pryor even stronger.
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