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Karl's Column - Bipartisanship

by Carolyn Binder

 I laughed when they sat down - - - for bipartisan discussions - - on - - - whatever.  It’s one of those laughing matters that presents itself as the only alternative to uncontrollable weeping, so it isn’t driven by humor at all.  Republicans in the House can’t get bipartisan support from Democrats in the House; Democrats in the Senate can’t depend on support from Republicans, and in fact, there are some Republicans in the Senate who have made bipartisanship a bargaining chip.  Republicans in the Senate are demanding full disclosure, including access to operatives who really were there, and who really do know, what really went on in Benghazi, highlighted by the murders of four Americans, including the Ambassador.  Back over in the House of Representatives, with a Republican political party majority, but with that traditional Republicanism overlaid with Tea Party folks, can’t even develop that kind of bipartisanship.

And yet, in news clips provided by the National Association of Farm Broadcasting and sponsored by the American Farm Bureau Federation, we see the bold declaration that - - and here’s a quote - - “Lawmakers from Both Chambers Call for Farm Bill Support for Beginning Farmers:” - - and then the notice goes on to say that a group of bipartisan Representatives and Senators has asked House and Senate farm bill conferees to provide legislation with programs meant to break down the barriers that make it difficult to enter agriculture.  Did you catch that reference to the farm bill conferees?  This noble notion is expected to be a new part of the new

 farm bill. That, in and of itself calls for - demands - more than a fair share of bipartisanship, and yet we are fast approaching still another deadline by which the new farm bill must be approved, and signed by the President.  The Republican controlled House proposes a farm bill with monumental cuts in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program - - acronym SNAP - -formerly Food Stamps Program.  The Senate version calls for some cuts in SNAP, but not nearly so severe as that proposed by the House.  Do you have any idea that Republicans and Democrats, demonstrating bipartisanship, will come to agreement on that?  How much bipartisanship do you suppose it will take to shine some daylight on that proposal to adopt new legislation to support SNAP as a stand-alone program, no longer a part of the Agriculture Department budget.

Then there’s the debt ceiling deadline just weeks away.  You noticed all the bipartisanship at work in the earlier discussions and debates on that one, didn’t you.

I started this piece referring to the advisability of laughing, rather than crying - - in spite of all that, I do believe we should anticipate some tears in the fairly near future.