House Republican leaders faced bipartisan criticism Sunday for proposing just 30 day patches to forestall the threatened spike in milk prices next month — with senior lawmakers mocking the approach as a “poor joke on farmers” and asking who plants a crop for just 30 days.
At a lively GOP whip meeting, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Frank Lucas pressed hard for his longer-term extension to provide more certainty and the time needed to write a new farm bill next year. But the Oklahoma Republican met stiff — and colorful — resistance from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) who went so far as to liken new dairy provisions in the Lucas bill to “communism.”
The exchanges between the two men continued in a meeting of the full GOP conference Sunday night, where Boehner again laced into the dairy program. But Lucas — the traditional “good soldier” for his party — held his ground. And the back-and forth illustrates the problems still facing Boehner as he tries to untangle himself from the milk crisis brought on in large part because of his refusal to allow floor debate in this Congress on a full-scale, five-year farm bill.