Keith Good at Agfax writes about the defeat of the farm bill, including some interesting discussion from Craig Jagger, who blames the defeat in part on the changes in Congressional rules. I liked this:
Furthermore, the BGov Study stated that, “In addition, explicit timing shifts were used to capture ‘savings’ of $2.6 billion over 10 years for the 2002 farm bill and $4.5 billion over 10 years for the 2008 farm bill. Timing shifts move costs outside the 10-year budget window. The CBO scores savings for the shifts even though only the timing, not the amount, of program costs change. Those explicit timing shifts are not available for the 2013 farm bill, because all that could be identified have been used and each timing shift can be used only once…When major program changes are being made, having extra money to make them more palatable to those losing benefits makes writing legislation easier. This farm bill process undoubtedly has been more contentious and difficult from not having extra money above its baseline that recent farm bills had. Now to add funding for a new program or to increase funding for an existing program, funding for a different Agriculture Committee program that has a baseline needs to be cut, robbing Peter to pay Paul.”
Bottomline: the Ag committee had run out of tricks to ease the pain.